The Battery (2012)
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim
Writer & Director: Jeremy Gardner
Two former baseball players, Ben and Mickey, cut an aimless path across a desolate New England. They stick to the backroads and forests to steer clear of the shambling corpses that patrol the once bustling cities and towns. In order to survive, they must overcome the stark differences in each other’s personalities – Ben embraces an increasingly feral, lawless, and nomadic lifestyle – while Mickey is unable to accept the harsh realities of the new world. Mickey refuses to engage in Ben’s violent games and longs for the creature comforts he once took for granted. A bed, a girl, and a safe place to stay.
When the men intercept a radio transmission from a seemingly thriving, protected community, Mickey will stop at nothing to find it, even though it is perfectly clear that he is not welcome.
The Battery will either be a loved or hated; I don’t see there being any in between emotions for it. I for one loved it… a lot. It’s heavily about the hardships of two different kind of guys coming to grips with one another in a post apocalyptic setting, and lightly about the horror of the world they live in. The film uses elements that I’ve never seen before in this genre but always wondered about. For instance, I’ve never seen someone brush their teeth in a post apocalyptic film, or if I have I honestly don’t remember it. There’s a few other points like that throughout, but they’re things that should be absorbed by watching the film, instead of reading about them in a spoiler review.
The two leads have very little in common with one another, other than their love of baseball. Sure, they both are in this world to survive, but they don’t see eye to eye on how to do it. Mickey can’t let go of the past; he misses things like girls and having a home to hang his hat. And he can’t accept the job of destroying the undead to survive. He spends most of his time listening to music through headphones, trying to block it all out. Ben is quite the opposite. He seems rather comfortable in doing the things he needs to do in order to survive. There is no safe haven and there is no place to go, but he feels they must keep moving. There’s a great moment of dialog that really puts his view on how to live into perspective. Both characters pull out some fantastic moments of realism, and again, I feel like they’re elements that I haven’t seen used before in a post apocalypse film.
Most of the time spent in The Battery is with the two leads. There are some other interactions, but for the most part, actors Jeremy Gardner (also writer and director) and Adam Cronheim are working off of each other. One of the most interesting aspects, in terms of the characters, is that they are so different from each other, yet, I was able to relate to both of them. Both points of view are warranted. Ben and Mickey sometimes bicker, and at other times laugh. The movie is so well seeded in humanity, and that’s what makes it work.
About the zombies- the makeup job is pretty impressive, especially given that The Battery was made for $6000. Though, you won’t be seeing a whole lot of ghouls. Even when you do see them they aren’t really the primary focus. This is going to be a deal breaker for some, unless they can’t get past the fact that the movie is mostly about the leads. At the end of the day, this is a “two guys traveling” movie. Try to keep that in your head when going into it, and you should be fine.
The soundtrack, as well as the score, has a strong indie folk type vibe to it, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t fit the atmosphere perfectly. The backdrops of The Battery are mostly rural and woodsy, whether we’re on foot with our characters or in a car. Mickey listens to some great jams. It’s the kind of music I’d love to have with me out on a long and scenic country drive, and it’s all soothing enough to let you forget for a while that the world around you has gone to apocalyptic shit.
The last act may be another deal breaker for a lot of people, and it’s understandable. I’m not going to go into why, but I gotta say that “confined” is a severe understatement. Personally, I thought it was bold as hell and I was gripping my seat the whole time.
The Battery was a totally nice surprise for me, and the more I sit here and think about it, the more I just want to watch it again. It will definitely go down as one of my top picks for the year. Really excited to see where Jeremy Gardner goes next as a director, because he’s off to one hell of a good start.
The Battery has its Toronto/TAD premiere tonight at 9:30 with short film, Just Ella!
You can also head over to The Battery website by clicking HERE, where you can buy it in streaming format for only $5! It’s totally worth that, if you ask me.
– Eric (Brobocop)