All Hope There Is (2023) – Movie Review
What if you literally became the last man on Earth? What if we miraculously survived a disaster from which no one survived? Do you suffer from daily loneliness and uncertainty? Do you just have a robot company that provides protection? But protection from what, when all you have in front of your eyes is desert and emptiness? This is the kind of question that Ewa, the heroine of Piotr Biedron’s All Hope, is the first Polish science fiction film in a long time, or more precisely: a post-apocalyptic film.

You can see that Biedron is going deeper and deeper into his garden. Previously, he produced two “environmental” short films warning of climate catastrophe with Pawel Delge: “Nice work” and “PM 2.5”. Now he once again explores the theme of a world heading toward destruction, and even looks at what reality looks like when the destruction has already occurred. Or maybe there really is no ending, just a record of subsequent trials and errors? After all, the main theme of “All Hope In Them” soon turns out to be a simple mistake that causes a robot to stop being an ally to humans.

Of course, it’s not as if we didn’t have sci-fi cinema in Poland before. Piotr Szulkin successfully handled this genre and managed to give it an original touch. Juliusz Machulski successfully plays with conventions in “Seksmisja”. Biedron is aware of all this, and he also seems to know very well what has been happening in American post-apocalyptic cinema over the past forty years. His filmography clearly reflects both the classic “Star Wars” as well as the lesser-known “Devices” by Richard Stanley and “I Am a Mother” by Grant Spotor. Add to this the literature of Isaac Asimov and the current climate and refugee crises, and the reality we see in the Polish director will emerge.

“All Hope Is In Them” has two big advantages. The first is what this movie looks like. Despite the small budget, filmed for little money, it has excellent visuals. Biedron tackles a very difficult genre in the Vistula for this very reason: making good science fiction involves huge costs, often unattainable in Polish conditions. At the same time, this is where creative people get out of trouble unscathed. Chamber drama replaces grand scale, but consistency and interest in what the post-apocalyptic world looks like remain. What’s impressive is not the robot itself, but the desolate world left after the disaster – sunny, dirty, terrifying.

The second feature is the role of Magdalena Wieczorek. Jacek Beler lent the voice to the robot Artur and it’s an interesting experiment, but the entire story depends on Wieczorek’s performance, as it’s the one that focuses our attention throughout the entire show. Ewa is feisty, independent and intelligent, and at the same time increasingly lonely and helpless.

If there’s one thing wrong with Pedron’s film, it’s the plot. Sly people may say that it can be served in thirty minutes instead of an hour and a half. Something’s Going On: The simplicity of this story initially works in the whole thing’s favor, but eventually dampens the momentum a bit. Yes, the creators expanded the story, for example mentioning what it was like for governments to “deal” with the influx of refugees, but one simply wishes for more of that expansion.

However, if we look at the title, it becomes clear that Piotr Biedron’s new work has an ironic force – irony prevents what we see on the screen from eventually turning into pity and triviality. Who really deserves to put “all your hopes” in? In soulless machines, devoid of empathy, that can change their attitudes? Or perhaps in humans, even the last remaining individuals on Earth? Well, yes, but they too are weak, and cannot deal with a creature without feelings. So there is no hope? What if Eve, like her grandmother, does not have a new beginning?

And the fact that the filmmakers do not go beyond the messages known in cinema since the first “Terminator” film, and do not decide to change points of view, as Gareth Edwards recently did, without complete success, in “The Creators”? Well, let’s be happy with what we have – both in the (so far) pre-apocalyptic world, and in the Polish post-apocalypse.

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