Eden Log

"Bad"

Eden Log Review


Credit where credit's due: Franck Vestiel's Eden Log grabs your attention immediately and doesn't relax its grip for a solid 20 minutes. A man (Clovis Cornillac) awakes in a pool of muck with a light pulsing on him every two seconds or so. He is in a cave of some sort but not much more can be gathered. That is until he finds the pulsating light that is emanating from a small contraption wrapped around a dead man's shoulder. Stumbling upon a small gated area, a simulation tells him that he is helping with the titular project and that he must go on, tangling with all manner of chuds and super guards along the way. The revelations continue, but this is about the point where you might consider walking into the theater bathroom, taking out your trusty Swiss Army knife and performing seppuku.

The trials and tribulations that face the man, who eventually finds out his name is Tolbiac, are those more suited that of a video game programmer than a young filmmaker. It is eventually established that Eden Log is some sort of natural habitat that holds a large plant with rejuvenating sap and roots that release a toxin that turns humans into the roving chuds. Among the monsters and the guards running around, Tolbiac encounters a being in what looks like a hazmat suit who ends up being a rogue female worker. Together, they attempt to find a way out of the labyrinthine root system, just as Tolbiac begins to feel the effects of the toxins.

There are more happenings that include a few carcasses filled with roots and some elongated video entries featuring the guards and Tolbiac. The latter goes a long way to destroying all the provocation that had been built up by the film's strong opening. Mainly corresponding in fits of grumbles, moans, and grunts, Cornillac's performance is ostensibly one of simple physical presence, and it calls for nothing but to summon the ability to run, mutter and, every once in awhile, tangle with a monster. It's an uninteresting performance that puts more stress on Vestiel's direction and writing than the French first-timer may want.

In 2006, Vestiel served as a first assistant director on Ils, one of the most acute and harrowing horror-tinged thrillers to come from France in the last decade. Eden Log deploys a similar scenario in that it is seemingly based in real time and revolves around one figure running away from a pack of intruders, though it is one set in a post-apocalyptic eco-nightmare rather than a country mansion. There are many reasons that Eden Log fails where Ils soared, but the most damning is that nothing ever seems to be at stake for Tolbiac. The monsters attack him about as often as they leave him alone and we're never quite sure what to make of the character's declining mental state besides a mildly violent outburst every so often. The audience isn't allowed to like or dislike the character in any capacity until the very end, and by then the cheat has already settled in. Like a video game, Eden Log accepts no emotional stakes in its premise and gives the viewer only the simple task of reaching its finale. At 98 minutes, a conclusion about an hour earlier would have been far more merciful.



Eden Log

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 26th December 2007

Distributed by: Magnet Releasing/Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Impéria, Bac Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Franck Vestiel

Producer: Cédric Jimenez

Starring: as Tolbiac, Vimala Pons as Last botanist, Zohar Wexler as Technician, Sifan Shao as Technician, Arben Bajraktaraj as Technician

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