Fantasia Review: Restore Point

Restore point Restore Point. Fantasia

With nods to Blade Runner, Minority Report, and Run Lola Run, Restore Point is an atmospheric sci fi police drama set in 2041. Messages of “Have you backed up today?” are pervasive, since those who die violently can be revived to their latest backed-up “restore point”, provided it happens within 48 hours of death. The restorations are handled by a massive corporation on the verge of privatization, but a virus is erasing people’s restoration points daily, rendering the technology useless. The main suspect is thought to be a member of luddite terrorist organization, River of Life. Lone wolf female detective, Em Trochinowska (Andrea Mohylova) is called in to investigate a double murder case involving David Kurlstat, one of the creators of the technology and perhaps the only person capable of stopping the virus. However, the restoration points of Kurlstat and his wife far exceed the 48-hour window allowed.

With dogged perseverance, Trochinowska begins her investigation, finding things that the initial investigators have missed, including a necklace that points to a known terrorist. As she puts together the clues she has, she chases down her suspects and uncovers a much greater conspiracy underneath it all.

The film is an excellent work, in part due to its rather likeable it not slightly to type charactrs. Trochinowska is haunted by the death of her husband, a pianist, who was killed by the River of Life 50 hours after his last restoration, rendering him unrevivable. She values transparency and honesty in her work, while showing a less-than-healthy disdain for rules and procedures, preferring her own instinct. She chases down her suspects with commitment, showing little regard for her own life. Of course, her own awareness about the window of restoration figures into her decisions, which gives the entire world a sense of realness. We also see some of the limits of the technology in the character of Kurlstat, who is revived from a much earlier restore point and is missing months of memories and must contend with the fact that his restored self is unstable and will fail.

But beyond it’s characters, it’s really the world that shines in this film. Director Robert Hloz makes sure to fill in all the details: massive skyscrapers bent into unusual shapes, helpful AI, newspapers with moving images, and even an underground where people kill and restore themselves for money. Despite the surreality of the restoration point technology, the world feels very real and very lived in. It’s a technologically dependent world that isn’t dehumanizing. People’s reactions and believes are altered by the possibilities of technology around them and this film isn’t shy about going far beyond that initial “Gee whiz” response to accepted integration.

Restore Point is a thrilling, imaginative film that blends familiar tropes of the police procedural and corporate critique with insightful and committed ideas about technology in an artful manner.

Restore Point is part of the Fantasia Festival that continues until August 9. Details on films HERE.

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