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Friday, August 24, 2007

Review of Marco van Bergen's ZERO HOUR!

Something I've been saying for awhile: the next revolution in film-making won't be in Hollywood. It'll be coming from out of the hinterlands. There is something really wonderful happening across the world, my friends: a new breed of filmmaker, and I'm seeing them as young as 12 all the way up to their 50s and 60s. People armed with the new technology of cheap digital filmmaking who are doing incredible things around their hometowns and down in their basements... which are more often than not rigged-up with makeshift greenscreens. Regular people, no longer content to watch the magic on the big screen, are now telling themselves "I could do that, I can do that. Maybe I will do that!"

Marco van Bergen is one of those people. A mid-teen filmmaker in the Netherlands, van Bergen just finished his new movie Zero Hour. This past week I was honored to be granted the opportunity to give it a looksee.

Zero Hour is about a tidal wave that hits a research facility on an island, and how the survivors frantically fight to survive. That this sounds much like Poseidon is bolstered by how some footage from that movie (along with clips from Titanic and other major motion pictures) is used in van Bergen's film. But don't let that fool you: Zero Hour is defined by its own cinematography (and by a largely original score by German composer Ralf Wienrich, which won a whole slew of awards at a major competition in Amsterdam a few days ago). There are some terrific shots that van Bergen and his crew pulled off, including a number of great special effects. Yet Zero Hour doesn't make the mistake that many other productions on this scale fall to the temptation of doing: making the effects supersede the story and the characters. Indeed, the scene that stands out in my mind from Zero Hour is an escape through the ventilation system: there was a much greater sense of claustrophobia and dark humor in that part than I would have expected from an older, more experienced filmmaker.

I couldn't help but think while watching Zero Hour that I was being blessed to witness the early efforts of a very talented group of young people, that I've no doubt we are going to be hearing quite a lot of good from in the years to come. Heck, if I was a bigtime studio exec, I'd throw Marco and his crew a couple million dollars and really turn them loose!

If you want to find out more about Zero Hour, check out the movie's official website. Oh yeah, and there will be a soundtrack CD of the film's score coming out soon, too! If that were only true of some other movies...