What is Extracted? :: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” — John Milton, Paradise Lost. Well, the mind creates not just heaven and hell, but a lot of other things. As long as the minds are concerned, the physical existence of hell and heaven can take a heavy toll. If the mind keeps you burning, you shall feel the inferno, and if the mind is going through peace, hell is not coming down. Yes, going to paradise, inferno or purgatory in the physical manner is to be left for life after death, but for what happens on Earth, it is all about the mind. This is the same reason why two people might experience the exact same thing in different manner. Each person is unique and so is the mind in every man. Extracted takes us into the mind of one man, where there are memories which keep playing, and there is this another man who is trapped right in there with no chance for an escape. So what are his memories and how does it work? Does the man escape from that world?
What is it about? :: It follows Tom (Sasha Roiz), who invents a machine which can help a person to enter the mind of another man and read his memories, or rather walk around in it (rather like walking around the dreams of a particular person in Inception, but this being more of a scientific device which reacts to instructions and keeps the person who just entered the memory walk through them as he wants to, unaffected by that world and not influencing anything in the mind). Our scientist is a good man, and wishes to use this in treating trauma and for other medical purposes. But once again, government becomes the temporary villain as they make him enter the mind of a suspected killer of a woman, Anthony (Dominic Bogart) with promises of money which he needs as well as a little threatening. But then the system refuses to log him off the mind of that man and his body is left motionless with his mind trapped in the memories of the murderer with nobody having any idea how to get him out. He keeps wandering in the memories until he starts trying to communicate with the owner of the memories.
The defence of Extracted :: Even without the use of that much of a budget, they have made this one interesting. There is absolutely no need for special effects of the highest quality to make a science fiction movie (listen Krrish 3, you never needed those horrible special effects which is not even fit to be called special, if you ever had a good story supported by fine acting). The graphics are kept at a simple level and the story is given the importance it deserves. There is not even a real villain, even as they do get into the mind of someone who is the bad guy. The scene when the infiltrator and the owner of the memory meet each other inside the mind in a fine point. The atmosphere they have created is not really that of a special effects aided fantasy with strange happenings, as the mind itself becomes just another reality with only two of them and of course the computer. There is no external or internal factor affecting the same, and that adds to the simplicity of the movie and way in which it progresses. These people are smart indeed.
Claws of flaw :: The memories doesn’t have anything special, as this is the mind of a man who is into drugs and a lot of illegal activities. His world is simple and often lacks details as the computer is forced to fill those areas with certain kind of fillers which dominates a good part of his memory. That would make the special effect lovers sad, as there is nothing to feel awesome out of this world. There are ambiguities, that is for sure, but of a very small kind. There are moments which could have been made better, and there was more scope for this movie in the way the narrative progresses, and the manner in which the whole situation is being built up. The simplicity is often the movie’s enemy, as the impression it creates stay within certain limits. If you are expecting a special effects marvel like The Matrix, an incredibly awesome looking creation like Inception or something as serene and yet powerful like The Cell, you are going to be disappointed. This one is a movie of this world and not anything else. There is almost nothing to take you to the highest levels of fantasy with visual awesomeness.
Performers of the soul :: The performances are surprisingly good, and it is one of the highlights of a movie which has been rather unknown. Sasha Roiz has done a great work in the movie, and if anything matches or betters that, it should be the performance of Dominic Bogart. While the former is more of a flat character, the latter is as dynamic as he can get, and moves on to the realization about himself not before thinking and coming into his own conclusions. The two female leads are also very good with the limited screen presence that they have, but they do have quite the emotional stuff to go through. If there was more character development in the case of the characters other than the owner of the mind, this could have been a great field for performances. There is nothing extraordinary out there, as everything remains so simple and believable. There is nothing of exaggeration even in a science fiction movie of complicated ideas, as there is a high chance for the same as we have seen in many such movies. These characters are done in a simple manner and the acting works in the right manner, even as most of us might not know any of these actors or actresses.
Soul exploration :: I wish to leave you with a few lines from a song in the Malayalam movie Memories: “Time flows like a river running wild, my mind’s swimming, swimming like a child, I watch the yesterdays go by, like moving patterns in the sky, memories never die”. The movie has a protagonist who is a drunkard living in the memories of his wife and daughter who were killed by a criminal, and he is as much caught in those memories as our hero here. Yes, that was an investigative thriller in which he gets out of them to solve a mystery, but here, we have a device and science fiction. We are all slaves to the past, and memories are all that he have, but when the memories are not ours, there comes the surprise, and just like Inception and The Cell, Extracted also sends someone into the mind of another person. I would recommend that song by the way, as its lines “I take a train into the past” and “Trapped in the desert of my mind” with the way in which it is sung and the scenes are shown in brilliant – it is that which comes to my mind when I watch this movie.
How it finishes :: Extracted is worth a watch if you liked Inception and The Cell, or may be even The Matrix. If there needs to be the reminder of another title, that would be Source Code. Be careful about expecting something spectacular, but expect something simple instead. I would compare this one more to The Cell rather than any other movie, and this is a lower budget version of such movies, taken in the right manner so that it can make an impression without too much quality. Its final plot twist is rather not that impressive, and the ending is adjusted than rather created with full power. It could have tried a little bit harder, and then it could have come up better. Whether you like it or not, we have to appreciate the efforts they have done to create so much out of a low budget movie without losing out. The movie proves that memory can be simple, and yet valuable, and there is no need for blue aliens or space station or inter-planetary travel to make a good science fiction movie. The ideas of The Matrix, Inception and The Cell can be further used, and none of them are finished. Even as budget matters, it is the attitude that matters more. In the end, there is that fine work which might not stay in our memories forever!
Release date: 10th March 2012
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Nir Paniry
Starring: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen, Frank Ashmore, Nick Jameson, Richard Riehle, Sara Tomko, Brad Culver, Richard Riehle, Rodney Eastman, Augie Duke
@ Cemetery Watch
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