Eden Log (film, 2008)
From Death Ray 15.
TWO AND A HALF STARS
Director: Franck Vestiel
Writers: Cedric Jimenez, Franck Vestiel, Pierre Bordage
Starring: Clovis Cornillac, Vimala Pons
It’s got power-making trees that eat people, and philosophy. SF does not get much more French than Eden Log.
Eden Log has a story that could have come right out of a bande dessinee. A man wakes up at the base of a subterranean complex that is twisted round the roots of a tree. As it’s full of facist guards and ravenous mutants, he wants to get out.
The film makes a brave attempt to present the story from the point of view of the main character. You know what he knows, nothing more. But to make it a journey of discovery, they’ve bestowed upon him the hokey plot device of amnesia. And to make sure we find out as much as possible about the world (all writers love their worlds, the better ones , though, know what to share and what not to share) the script is littered with unlikely expository conversations, while every twenty-five minutes we have a stop in a lab where a handy computer file reveals more. It’s as convincing as the plot development in a 1990s video game, only in Eden Log you don’t get shoot the monsters.
The film is thus Gallicly pompous, thick with pretend profundity and aimless pseudo-philosophy. Wanna know why? Spoilers ahead…
Eden Log is a corporation promising free power to the world from trees, only it transforms its workers into monsters, and we discover ultimately that it’s not trees keeping the lights on, it’s people! Then there’s the arc of the stranger who turns out to be an agent named Tolbiac, who in an act of contrition stabs himself with a root of the super tree, reinvigorating it and turning the entire world into a forest. What?
To tell the truth, I have soft spot for bonkers French SF. But it has to be done well. Large parts of this are. It’s shot in some effectively dressed (for the money) and nightmarish locations. The performances from the leads are good, it’s just the pretentious script that annoys.
Did you know?
Eden Log comes in French and English versions. They shot some sequences twice, once in each language. The French version, free of second-language clumsiness, is superior.