Friday, September 5, 2014

Film Review: Extracted (2012)

Extracted (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Even at its lowest points, Extracted is an engaging and very entertaining film."

Tom (Sasha Roiz), a scientist, creates a device that allows him to enter another person's memories. In need of money, Tom reluctantly agrees to enter the mind of a suspected killer...

Extracted, an indie SciFi thriller, begins with a strong introduction. Tom enters the memory of Anthony (Dominic Bogart), the suspected killer, and grabs all of the information he needs. However, the device malfunctions, and Tom's conscious becomes trapped in Anthony's memories. This second act of the film becomes tiresome as the novelty wears off and the story take a more repetitious route. It does pick up for the third act, though. However, the climax feels contrived and the ending feels like it's trying too hard to be mind-blowing or contemplative -- if it had ended five minutes earlier, it would've been satisfying enough.

Otherwise, Extracted is a well-executed film. It's an engaging and entertaining blend of SciFi, mystery, and crime-thriller. Based off of concept, you may automatically think Inception or The Cell -- I was expecting something like the latter based off of description -- but it's really much more subtle and, dare I say, more grounded in reality. It's not a visual spectacle by any means, but the story and characters are engaging and it was interesting to see the concept play off of a micro-budget.

The only issues I had with the film were the inconsistent pacing and the ending. Due to the uneventful and repetitive second act, the story feels like it has been stretched out to meet a "feature length runtime." It's still interesting and engaging, but it feels like it purposefully drags its feet and doesn't offer much to the concept -- at least not as much as the first and final act.

I think the acting was great. Sasha Roiz and Dominic Bogart both deliver strong performances -- the former was surprisingly effective. There are some moments were it feels unnatural, particularly when the roles become more emotionally demanding, but those are far and few between. The film is shot very well, and I loved how the filmmakers made the film feel "SciFi" without big-budget special effects. The music was also great. Aside from the middle of the film, I think writer and director Nir Paniry does very well in crafting this engaging SciFi thriller with a micro-budget.

Overall, Extracted is a very good SciFi film. Even at its lowest points, Extracted is an engaging and very entertaining film. It's a film that's more than just concept, which is impressive considering the budget. However, the ending is mediocre and there are some glaring pacing issues -- I felt the film would've been more efficient and effective it had been cut down. Otherwise, well worth watching for fans of the concept and fans of indie films -- as long as you understand it's not a big budget blockbuster.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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