The Quiet Earth

Geoff Murphy (Utu) was New Zealand's mid-80s answer to Australia's George Miller, a natural-born moviemaker who'd absorbed the lessons of the American action cinema and added a few refinements of his own. His plastic skills are quite evident in this 1985 feature, but they aren't enough to overcome an achingly trite screenplay that finds—inevitably—a scientist, a woman, and a black in sole possession of a postnuclear world. Bruno Lawrence (Smash Palace) has a few memorably extravagant mad scenes in the early reels, when he believes himself alone in downtown Auckland and plunders the department stores to assuage his agony, but the balance of the project is windy and awesomely predictable.

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