This month’s picks include an animated odyssey filled with dragons, a pandemic-set post-apocalyptic Western and more.
By Robert Daniels (New York Times)
A post-apocalyptic Western set in the not-too-distant future, Jon Keeyes’s film uses the Covid-19 pandemic as a premise for the fall of civilization. In Matthew Rogers’s lean script, it’s been 592 days since the outbreak of the Delta strain, a highly contagious and very deadly iteration of the virus. To combat the outbreak, the U.S. government created isolation camps to house the uninfected. One such outpost, Camp Bastion, experiences an eruption of the disease. The only survivor is Aaron (John Malkovich), a psychotic messianic cult leader of marauding land pirates.
Aaron, however, isn’t the titular character in “The Survivalist.” That honor goes to Ben (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a former F.B.I. agent providing shelter to the hunted Sarah (Ruby Modine). Aaron’s gang believes Sarah, whose immunity to the virus makes her a perfect test subject, can end the pandemic, delivering them from their doomsday hellscape. In a farmhouse gun battle, Ben alone fights Aaron’s death squad. Malkovich provides a menacing performance in a film filled with a battering ram truck, a bevy of bullets and a final bloody execution.