2007 sci-fi/mystery: Directed by Franck Vestiel; starring: Clovis Cornillac, Vimala Pons, and Zohar Wexler. [rated R] Stars given: 3/5.
“Up till now, I’ve been able to manage pretty well. Before you showed up, I thought I was the only one in this situation. But if you can’t even talk anymore, then that means your mutation has already begun, and I won’t even be able to help you because this is the only place around here that is protected.”
“The Plant fed them, but there was no control, and the dose was too strong. It made them rot. I told myself: my only chance was to wait until hunger drove them to start killing each other and that I hoped I would still be alive to see it. In the end, we grew accustom to each other. I’ve got no illusions; if it weren’t for this bit of plastic between us, I wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. They still manage to surprise me, after all this time.”
“Let me test on you. Don’t worry, you’ve got nothing to fear except knowing more about yourself.”
Starting out in complete darkness, “Eden Log” takes the audience on a journey of discovery along with Tolbiac, a man lost beneath the Earth’s surface. His world is dark, confusing, and filled with a bizarre, complex root system that seems hell-bent on making sure he doesn’t recover his memories. Memories mean a mission and a sense of purpose, something which Tolbiac dearly wants to recover. But are they worth all the painful and deadly struggles that he must go through or are those memories more than he can handle?
“Eden Log” is one of those sci-fi films that make use both of ill-lighting and a series of dizzying effects in order to make the audience feel as disorientated as the character they are following. While these are both good when used sparingly, they can lead to headaches and disinterest instead; when all you want is to actually SEE what is going on, you are less likely to feel “in the moment”, something that does a film more harm than good. Sadly, this is a film full of headaches.
With scenery shrouded in muddy darkness, the camera is limited primarily to third-person perspective, following and constantly trained on the primary character. This trick limits the audience to see what he sees and (hopefully) empathizes as they feel what he feels. It can be slow, rough, and even brutal at one point. In the best interest of potential viewers, it should be noted that there is an incredibly questionable scene that has become infamous in a way among those who have seen it and discuss it online; let me be clear in saying that it is a somewhat disturbing and choppy scene, so those with sensitive triggers regarding possible rape may prefer to avoid this particular film or at least skip past the moment via chapter selection.
For all its shortcomings, however, “Eden Log” scores major points when it comes to the plot. With a truly perfect blend of horror, mystery, and science fiction, it somehow manages to keep the audience engaged while the story comes full circle and reveals the true horrors within “the perfect society”. That alone gives “Eden Log” its rating of 3 out of 5—without the story behind it all, this film would only be worth two stars.
Viewers be warned: unless you are a die-hard sci-fi lover, this film might not be worth sloughing through.