• Film reviews

    #611 – Them (2021)

    Them (2021)

    Film review #611

    Director: Ignacio Maiso

    SYNOPSIS: Humans live the same moments in their lives over and over again. A few manage to break free of the loop and become “them” who watch over the humans. Daniel becomes one of them, and wants to wake up his wife too, but problems arise when he tries to do so…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Them is a 2021 film. Every so often you come across a film that is so devoid of any redeemable qualities you struggle to even call it a film. This is one of them. The story seems to be about how humans live in a state of repeating the same events in their lives. Sometimes, humans “wake up” and become “them,” who watch over the humans. There’s…not really much else to the film. The fundamental problem with this film is that absolutely explained or explored. Obviously, it’s okay if film’s leave things open for interpretation, but there has to be some worldbuilding, rationale, rules…anything by which events unfold. here we get absolutely nothing. If the writers had any kind of vision or reason behind what is going on, it in no way translates to the screen. I felt like maybe there was an attempt at being a mix of Wings of Desire and The Matrix, but there’s so little to go on that it no way reaches that kind of level where you can leave things open to interpretation, because there’s nothing built up to interpret.

    The main core of the story I suppose is centred around Daniel, who “wakes up” from his human existence. He wants to also wake up his wife, but this is considered dangerous, also the fact that it’s maybe not his wife at all, just a repeated dream that different people live through, including him. Again, it’s very complicated, and the shift between it being personal and impersonal doesn’t really create conflict, it just muddies an already incoherent story. Given that this is a human story at its core, the acting is anything but: nearly every scene is just dialogue of people standing around talking, but the performances are so inhuman. I don’t think this is just because of bad acting, but it seems to be directed this way? Every single character; human, them, or otherwise, engages in dialogue by leaving a three-second pause between responding, and I simply cannot fathom what for. Maybe you could argue that ‘them’ would speak this way since they are not human, but the human character’s themselves do it too, and makes them seem just a bit weird. There’s a character who wants to bring down the whole ‘them’ organisation and tries to recruit Daniel, but again, we never see anything they do, what their aims are, or how they want to go about it: it’s all just dialogue that is eventually just talked away. The supervisor of ‘them’ also gives nothing away, and just asks for reports from his assistant, which are likewise devoid of significance.

    I suppose if you want to defend the decisions of this film, it was made during the Covid-19 pandemic, so you can imagine there’s no crowds or big gatherings, but surely there could have been more than just every scene being just two people talking with awkward pauses between every line of dialogue. The film on the whole is simply a bewildering void of any kind of cinematic content, that is unable to establish any kind of characters or worldbuilding. Again, it feels like someone watched Wings of Desire, blended it with The Matrix, and barely understanding what either of them were about, threw together some rough ideas that go nowhere, and with the depth of a piece of paper. Redundant viewing that is simply a waste of time.