Title – An Unscripted Earth (2017)
Directors – Lorenzo Benitez, James Holloway & Jonathon Parker (Six Months to Salvation)
Cast – James Holloway, Lorenzo Benitez, Carlos Celdran, Jonathon Parker
Plot – Two high school friends from Australia reunite in Manila after years apart completing university in opposite sides of the globe and find themselves looking back on their friendship and too their future as they begin to realize their lives are about to change forever.
“Still driving on the wrong side of the road are you?”
Review by Eddie on 03/12/2019
The first full length feature film from the Australian film-making trio known as u16.co, An Unscripted Earth sees the group together for the first since their documentary Six Months to Salvation, for what’s a solid attempt at the narrative talk-heavy game.
Filmed in Duterte (a part of Manila) in the Philippines, Earth is a picturesque film that’s wonderfully captured by the trio, in whats akin to a guided tour around the rapidly expanding and constantly evolving city, but the Richard Linklater/Sophia Coppola-lite drama that surrounds the great sights isn’t as instantly appealing.
Honing in on the friendship between graduating university students Lawrence and Jaime, as the two come together after year’s apart in different sides of the world, Earth looks to examine some weighty issues (David Foster Wallace conversations and all) but the chemistry between these two maturing men never clicks fully into gear, meaning our 70 or so minutes with them is perfectly tolerable but never wholly engaging.
Clearly friends in real life, its a shame actors Jonathon Parker and Lorenzo Benitez couldn’t translate their real personas and friendship into their on screen personas, as we never really feel much of a bond here or even a reason as to why their spending so much time together, there’s barely an ounce of humor or fun here either as the two bemoan many an aspect of life without much focus on any of the positives.
This serious tone is an aim of the film as it shines a light on the political climate of the Philippines and Manila, even touching on its past with various scenes taking place across the city but for character driven dramas of this ilk, it would’ve been nice for the film to add some warmth and energy, with u16.co perhaps needing to branch out with actors of more note next time they tackle a narrative feature of this style.
At days end, Earth leaves a lot to be desired in a refinement sense but with a keen eye for the city and enough going on behind the scenes to find merit in, this micro-budget offering is still worth tracking down, if only for a small taste of what hopefully is to come from this Australian movie-making tribe.
Final Say –
With a memorable back drop of one of the most diverse and interesting cities in the world, An Unscripted Earth is an impressively shot independent offering that suffers from a lack of engaging characters that inhabit it.
2 1/2 photography tips out of 5
To find out more about the film CLICK HERE.