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Embers [2015] is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where a neurological disease has caused amnesia within the entire human race. The film began traveling the festival circuit in late 2015, continuing the circuit in 2016 and is the debut feature of Claire Carré.

A Fresh Take on the Apocalypse; I have a soft spot for the apocalypse and will watch pretty much any film that uses it as the setting. Embers explores a different apocalypse than has been seen on film before. Not fraught with violence and danger, but instead with confusion and longing. The world, which the people who inhabit cannot remember for more than a day at a time, is well designed and believably constructed with excellent production design throughout.

A Rotating Cast of Characters; In lieu of a standard linear plot, Embers takes on a vignette style narrative. The focus of the film shifts to different groups of characters in a cyclical fashion. There are slight crossovers between certain segments while other segments remain completely unconnected. This allows the film to fully explore the apocalyptic amnesia concept from different perspectives and adds to the overall intrigue of the film. While each story is initially intriguing, the film does lose a bit of steam by the end and leaves a couple of its stories without any sense of closure.

Has a Strong Grasp on Tone; The pacing is decidedly slow but the film never feels boring. The focus changes frequently enough that the film remains engaging but Embers is perfectly content to linger within each segment on certain visuals or emotionally impactful moments. The cinematography overall is rather impressive, save for a couple of shots that are far too shaky for their own good.

A Few Problems; The music is very bland and given that a particular plot point involves a character playing the cello, it seems like a missed opportunity to not have scored the film with cello music. The exact workings of the amnesia are a little blurry. It can be a bit confusing what the exact extent of the memory loss is. There are also a few minor plot issues that could have been easily addressed, most notably being that despite having reoccurring amnesia nobody ever writes anything down to remember their situation when they awake the next morning with no memory of how they got there.

Embers is an original look at the post-apocalyptic setting but ultimately fails to feel substantial.

Embers
3.5Overall Score
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