A muted, mostly despairing dystopian science fiction film – which imagines a near-future that offers a slow-motion take on the catastrophe and escape of When World Collide. The economy is in decline even as resources dry up and the planet slowly becomes unlivable, tapwater has to be labelled ‘non-potable’, cities look like ghost towns, but there’s more introspective angst than anarchy on the streets. The only escape is in emigration to offworld colonies with tickets allocated by a strict lottery run by an inflexible bureaucracy. Jack (Brian Silverman) has won a visa which he can only use in tandem with the wife he left years ago when he walked away from a shady business he was running with low-rent master crook Eric (Clay Wilcox). Now Jack is back and trying to find Venessa, who seems to have dropped off the grid – with only Eric hinting that he might know how to track her down, but wants Jack to pitch in for one last dodgy deal before helping him out.
Writer-director Aleem Hossain uses found scruffy locations and some signage to establish a believable near future, but concentrates on noirish character study – as Jack is energised to reconnect with his past in order to secure his survival, but forced to question why he of all people got picked when many more deserving souls are left to rot, especially since he abandoned them even before things got as bad as they are. It’s thoughtful rather than action-packed, with even its crime drama angle played realistically, and Silverman is excellent as a complicated protagonist who knows just how much of a shit he has been and struggles even with his one golden chance to get away from it all.