By Roger Costa
Nature and cinema have always inspired or predicted each other in many ways. Ironically, sadly and scarily, writer-director Takashi Doscher’s “futuristic sci-fi” is an accurate and timely account of our troubled on-going times and changing lives, as everyone, rich and poor, black and white, are being afflicted by the Coronavirus crisis. Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Tony-winning Leslie Odom Jr. (Harriet, the upcoming Hamilton) play a couple trying to survive a global plague targeting women. One of the last survivors, she remains hiding from authorities, as they seek a solution to re-populate Earth. She is unable to get pregnant, despite the many attempts with fertility technology. Their love support each other and maintain them in balance, but eventually they will risk everything in order to experience a bit of normalcy, unchaining from the quarantine and defying the obstacles, the hunting officials, and the mysteriously lethal ash storm, causing a virus that kills only women.
Doscher proves incredible control with the material, creating a suspenseful thriller, punctuated by the brilliant editing, going back and forth in time to present the before, after and the current escape of the lovebirds. It opens with a knockout sequence, as a group of fully-armed guards, wearing protective gear and masks, unexpectedly enters the home of Eva and Will, looking to improve the quarantine rules and also hunting down women survivors. As a result, the couple decides to runaway, looking for a safer place to continue their journey and intense co-dependent love affair. The desperation and social conflict is captured with masterful techniques, setting up the narrative as a fast-paced and anxiously frenetic chasing-thriller.
Unpredictable and coherent, the film presents through flashbacks idyllic moments of romance between the pair, their social activities and communion, as well as the initial impact caused by the contagion, the uncertainty and the unknown. It’s an efficient and disturbing look at the Apocalypse.
During their escape, they stop at a diner, but her disguise is soon discovered and they are hunted by a couple of outlaws seeking to reproduce. They will do the unimaginable to overcome, including preparing for the worse and sacrificing some goals.
Intense, bizarre, convincingly performed and well-structured, “Only” is an utterly important and alarming film for a crucial moment in humankind history.
(Vertical Entertainment. On Demand.)