Zone 414

Directed by: Andrew Baird
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Written by Alexander Reams


Ever since “Blade Runner”, androids have been a constant subject in sci-fi cinema, and often used as a metaphor for reflection on society and treatment of others. Most of the time androids represent the lower classes, and sci-fi films tend to veer into a class analysis that has become more and more popular, especially after the “eat the rich” trilogy of 2019 (“Ready or Not”, “Parasite”, and “Knives Out”). Most of the time they fail, and sometimes they fail in spectacular fashion. Much to my chagrin, this film fails spectacularly, though the premise sounded very promising. A detective is hired by a shady corporation to find the CEO’s daughter and he has to perform a manhunt through a city of robots. 

Writer Bryan Andrew Hill is very green and it’s clear from the opening scene that he is painfully new. Guy Pearce’s dialogue with the android? It’s never 100% clear what she is, but his dialogue with her is stiff, as if a robot wrote it. Seems too on the nose- and it is. The lighting is often terrible, occasionally giving Guy Pearce the complexion of a dead body. There are frames where you can’t even interpret what is happening on screen. A debut can lead to a breakout chance but “Zone 414” is more like a car crash in slow motion. I enjoyed almost nothing in this film, it was bad from the get-go and it got laboriously boring very quickly. 

Sometimes bad can mean fun, but here it just frustrated me. I cannot in good conscience even recommend watching this. From the horrendous aspects from the editing, cinematography by James Mather (the brilliant DP on “Frank”) is reduced to shots that do not evoke any emotion and can barely tell a story through the scenes. Raffertie’s intrusive score does nothing but take you out of the film time and time again.The only somewhat bright spot that is still very filtered by everything around him, Guy Pearce, the man is trying, really trying, and is the reason I wanted to watch this in the first place, but not even he can rescue us.

Zone 414 Trailer

“Zone 414” is streaming on Netflix.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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