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This South Korean apocalyptic import is gonzo and out-there, but also somehow quite resonant....
Well Go USA / 119 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: December 11, 2012
It's always pretty fun to spend two hours watch the world end, then turn your TV off and go into the kitchen for a little snack. Apocalyptic (and post-apocalyptic) flicks are all the rage right now, and their across-the-board appeal must say something about what we as a culture are hungry for in terms of dramatic release. Doomsday Book, a triptych of meditations about different sorts of ends to this world of ours definitely revels in its end-of-days melodrama - and, often, the heinous violence that comes along with it - but through it all, it remains a distinctly fun glimpse into a world gone mad.
The first installment here, Brave New World, is a zombie-fied take on the world going mad, Heavenly Creature takes a more philosophical take on civilization's conclusion by addressing a robot in a monastery that claims to have evolved past its nuts and bolts and achieved a kind of spiritual enlightenment, and Happy Birthday is a weird-ass finale that involves a young girl trying to order a replacement billiards ball for her father (that she broke), only to find out the site she ordered from is run by aliens (naturally). The aliens, in turn, send a giant, meteor-grade billiards ball flying toward space toward Earth, clinching the third rock from the sun's grisly demise.
Doomsday Book is all over the place - it's difficult to keep up with its constantly-vacillating tone - but as an out-there morality tale, the film has a zany, frequently compelling underbelly to it. It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be the type of film that would absolutely crumble upon a second viewing (its out-of-left-field plot developments and the shock they inspire clearly populate the vast majority of the movie's merits), but as a head-scratching lark, Doomsday Book is a strange yet somehow effective piece of moviemaking. Plus, you get to watch the world end three times, which is always fun.