- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Morgenrøde

Also known as:
Dawn (English title)

Year: 2014

Genre: Independent / Sci-fi / Thriller

Language: Norwegian

Runtime: 71 min

Director: Anders Elsrud Hultgreen

Writer: Anders Elsrud Hultgreen


Two survivors wander the desolate wastelands after the apocalypse. They're suspicious of each other but seem to be in a mutual agreement in their silence.

Our thoughts:
When One Eyed Films contacted me about their new releases, this was one that really caught my attention. It's not too often that you get a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film from Norway. Odds are that you'd get a film that was more inspired by something like "Mad Max", but instead "Morgenrøde" is more about the atmosphere and the visuals of the world around them than the actual actions of the people. That's definitely my kind of post-apocalypse, since the other one has been done to death. But the visuals aren't really able to carry "Morgenrøde" far enough for it to be a very interesting film once your eyes have settled on its aesthetics.

The movie builds up an extremely intriguing style from the start, showing us the bleak nature after whatever catastrophe has occured - a world where you can't even believe trees and vegetation has ever been in full bloom. I believe the film was shot in Iceland, which would explain how they could create such an otherwordly feel. Iceland truly is magnificent. We're slowly introduced to two characters who are not previously connected to each other, and they meet each other with an obvious suspicion. Who can they really trust after all of this? They stay on guard but have to travel the lands together.

Most of this is presented in maybe the first 10 minutes, and then my interest quickly dissolves. I love visual movies that feel more like living in a poem than actual storytelling, but "Morgenrøde" doesn't really give us much to hold on to. There's not much thought presented to us outside of the atmosphere and visuals, and in the end I wasn't given much incentive to care about the characters. There are some moments in the movie where they speak and you try to get a hold of something, but the dialogue is both loose and pretentious.

I am very impressed by how beautiful this movie is. Some shots are truly stunning and the entire movie plays like a show reel for the cinematography (and the location). If that's what you are after, then I think you should give it a shot. I just don't think there is much else to the movie. It comes out as drivel most of the time, where I'd rather watch another shot of a sky or a mountain than to hear the characters speak. If the movie speaks more to someone else then that's fantastic, but there was nothing for me here outside of the visuals.

Positive things:
- Beautiful location and cinematography.

Negative things:
- There isn't much of interest outside of the visuals.
- Most dialogue seems pretentious.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 1/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0/5

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