User Reviews (19)

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  • robert-70510 September 2005
    A few of the people making earlier comments missed the point of this film. The disease described wasn't AIDS-like, it was AIDS. I suspect a few viewers may be too young to remember the near hysteria of the mid to late 1980s that had otherwise rational people calling for all HIV positive people to be permanently interned.

    Clearly the writer(s) of Daybreak wanted to illustrate one possible future in which fear was allowed to win out. This has a strong message to send us in 2005 too.

    The love story was central to the movie as a chain is created from Ellen to Torch to Blue. Ellen was passionate about saving people. Neither Torch nor Blue started that way but took up the cause when the one they loved fell to the all powerful authorities. The lack of decisive ending, other than the continuation of the resistance, shows that not all problems are easily solved and can be nearly wrapped up in a 1.5 hour movie.
  • This is a very excellent and overlooked HBO movie. Set in the future where HIV positive people are sent to live in concentration camps and probably exterminated in the near future. Cuba and Moria Kelly are excellent as the lead characters. There's also a really hot love scene between Cuba and Moria, which is interrupted by a kid. This is a very excellent movie of what might happen in an intolerent Texas future.
  • In a near future in New York, the (north) American society is ruled by a totalitarian government. In order to control AIDS, the HIV positive citizens are tattooed with a P on the chest and sent to quarantine.

    When the teenager Blue (Moira Kelly) accompanies her best friend Laurie (Martha Plimpton) to a government clinic for examination, they are advised on the street by the boy Willie (Amir Williams) to not go to the place. While in the waiting room, Blue and Laurie witness the treatment of the staff to an old lady and they decide to get out from the clinic. They are chased by security guards but Willie brings them to his brother Torch (Cuba Gooding Jr.) that hides and protects the girls.

    Blue learns that Torch is the leader of an underground movement of resistance and the government quarantine is a sham and the patients are left to die in starvation. Blue falls in love with Torch and joins the movement. When Torch is arrested by the police, he is submitted to a test and finds that he is positive. He is sent to quarantine and Blue tries to find a way to meet him.

    "Daybreak" is HBO film with a promising beginning, with a society controlled by a fascist government and a group of resistance that helps the sick people, giving dignity to them. The idea of resistance against a government is not original, but is usually engaging. Unfortunately there is a twist and the story changes to an annoying melodrama between the negative Blue and the positive Torch. My vote is five.

    Title (Brazil): "Amanhecer Sem Futuro" ("Dawning without Future")
  • I, too, thought that this was an excellent film; the first time i saw it I was on the verge of turning the TV off for lack of anything good. Although it's genre is listed as sci-fi it's not immediately apparent that it's sci-fi, which allows you to concentrate a little more on the people and production design. The grittiness is very well done, much like Max Headroom, and the characters are very thoroughly developed throughout the first two thirds of the film. The ending is particularly good - the viewer feels genuine empathy for both Moira and Cuba's characters and is left with the feeling that these are real people in an imperfect future.
  • I recorded this because the Tivo program guide description described the movie as a "two rebels fighting a fascist government in the near future." The movie starts promisingly with a failed escape from a medical institution that leads to an execution and an eerily prescient city street scene borrowed (or stolen) from Soylent Green -- a group of people standing around watching a TV behind a barred storefront window, a menacing group of paramilitary thugs intimidating a homeless person, and a couple of girls in uniforms with the label "WorkFare" getting off work.

    This should have helped establish a backstory of a bleak near future of economic collapse, government propaganda and tyrany, and, as we're told later on, rampant disease and forced quarantine.

    Instead of building on all these ideas to tell what could have been at least as good as "Handmaid's Tale", the script gets lost in a ridiculous love story between Cuba Gooding Jr. and Moira Kelly which is not redeemed even by two sex scenes featuring extensive topless footage of Moira.

    The love story detracts from the all-too-plausible social premise of the movie that seems quite believable now: the government is using propaganda, a paramilitary "Home Guard" of thugs and forced internment of people infected with a disease in quarantine centers that are portrayed as country club resorts, but instead are more like Soviet-era prison hospitals where the patients are sent to die.

    The budget must not have allowed for much location shooting or set dressing, as the premise of an America in deep decline is offset by Kelly and Martha Plimpton getting on a bus and a number of other scenes shot in high-rise Manhattan that would make it appear that life was functioning normally, in direct conflict to the other, Soylent Green like street scenes and overcrowded apartments.

    The AIDS-like disease is also treated in a conflicting manner -- it apparently was a real disease, as Cuba Gooding's band of rebels was actually trying to aide those sick with it, and Gooding made a deliberate attempt to wear a condom before having sex with Kelly -- but we're also led to believe that the sypmtpoms, communicability and perhaps even treatability of the disease wasn't what the government said it was. It would have been more effective (and productive for the storyline) if the disease had been instead a creation of the government as an excuse to put people in a prison-like quarantine where they would die by other means.

    Overall, a "near-future" concept which is actually chillingly plausable in our modern times (substitute genetically engineered smallpox for the disease and terrorism detention for the quarantine...) is ruined by a bad love story and a low-budget production.

    If you do suffer through this movie, don't miss future Sex and the City characters David Eigenberg ("Steve") as Kelly's brother, and Willie Garson ("Stanford Blatch") as a member of Gooding's rebel gang.
  • Being a big fan of Sci-fi films I expected a much better film. The storyline sounded like heroes would be saving the world in a futuristic "not-so-good" city. However, starting well with good time spend on the lead women, and making it interesting enough for you to sit and watch, it died out as it went along. It's very strange, it's like the first hour of the film is preparing you for some action, like they are building the story line up for some big scene at the end. But the film dies out and leaves you completely hanging, not knowing anything more as to what happens to the main characters, or even what they were fighting for most of the time. I recommend that people stay well away from this one, as Cuba Gooding Jr. has sooooo much more to offer.
  • This 1993 movie is one of a long line of dystopian (also called "awful warning") stories. In this case one of the key ideas that make dystopias interesting--a fascist government using paranoia to keep the masses in line--is swamped by the romance between Cuba Gooding and Moira Kelly. Of course there is a place for love in such a story--remember Winston Smith and Julia in Nineteen Eight-Four--but in Daybreak the love story eventually overwhelms everything else, and ideas go out the window.

    The treatment of the disease that is supposedly rampant in this near-future world is ambiguous. No, the disease doesn't seem like AIDS, but it's unclear just what it is, how much of the population is afflicted by it, and whether or not it is really deadly. At times, you get the sense that the government invented the disease to spread fear among the people, but, then again, clearly some of the people in the movie are sick. It's all sort of confusing.

    Cuba Gooding's character is one-dimensional. At first he's very angry and refuses to have anything to do with Moira Kelly. Then, aw shucks, he is forced to admit he really loves her. Moira Kelly's character is semi-believable. To me, however, the really interesting character is that played by Martha Plimpton, who makes the character come alive and has a very interesting face in the bargain.

    Somewhere in this movie is a good idea that never manages to break free.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Daybreak is an HBO Production based on Alan Bowne's acclaimed off- Broadway play Beirut.It stars Cuba Gooding,Jr and Moira Kelly.When a substantial portion of the nation's populace falls victim to a deadly plague, the tyrannical government quarantines them in camps, offering no alternative except death in this cautionary tale from director Stephen Tolkin.

    The film has been "opened-out" into an apocalyptic, romantic action- thriller. New York City is a fascist nightmare steeped in poverty and ridden with plague. Bands of armed officers under the rubric Operation Helping Hand roam the streets rounding up Positives, who are tattooed and quarantined in filthy hellholes. Blue, a poor but pretty young woman, stumbles onto a secret resistance group that rescue Positives to give them compassionate care. Blue falls in love with their courageous leader, Torch.

    It focuses on the relationship between these star-crossed lovers and the film's best moments do the same. It ever mentions AIDS by name, but it is clear that AIDS is the plague in question and the theme is the hysteria that the illness can generate. The horrible future these dramas foresaw did not come to pass. Since they were written, great medical strides have been made that have changed the face of AIDS. But fear and misinformation about the disease persist.

    AIDS remains a major health crisis worldwide and Daybreak could have been powerful film that deserves to be seen.Unfortunately,the film turned into a boring melodrama in the end.
  • Edvardov20 February 2007
    I just rented this and I can't believe how moving it is. And how great Cuba and Moira are. Cuba maybe better than in anything else except Jerry Maguire. And also Omar Epps. He makes such a great villain!!! And the guy from Sex in the City--David Eigenberg--so helpless and lost and trying to find his way. Martha Plimpton was also awesome--complicated and conflicted and sad. She and Moira---you really believed they were best friends. Also one of the best kid performances I've ever seen. The story grabbed me and carried me along and I can't believe it was only made for television, I know that this is a story that will stay with me. Also the whole way it looked, the way the city felt, made me feel like I was right there living it with the characters. Bravo to all involved!
  • I it is strange as I read through all of the other write ups is the big split between the people who think it was good and the others who think it was not much middle ground, I often think that is the mark of a good film.

    Having seen this twice now the first time with nothing to watch flicking around I catch it just as the two girls are running out of the 'testing centre' within 10 minutes I had seen the start of a good story that followed on to the end. Yes it did get a bit thin towards the end but it was a TV movie so I did not expect a $50 million block buster it works for what it was. Even so it still had that ability to show the real problems of parts of society and that if some things are not property addressed that they could easily turn out that way.
  • I thought this movie was great, and I think it should still be shown to teens today. The virus, an obvious AIDS parallel, striking paranoia and fear into the populace, and the reluctance of government to educate people on prevention, are themes I remember seeing in the real world when AIDS first came out. I also remember the suggestions of quarantines and somehow marking the infected as dangerous. The romantic aspect of the film was a bit off-subject, but then most subplots are, and I liked how Moira Kelly's character brought about the opportunity to explain details that otherwise might have been assumed "obvious" by characters, thus making the explanations seem forced and unnatural. I wish I owned this DVD, especially since actors tend to do better work before reaching star-status, and this is certainly an example of that.
  • Being what it is (a TV-movie), I was surprised by the excellent plot and deep characters portrayed by Daybreak. Though I'm a devoted Moira Kelly fan, I tend to view the strong side of traditional, socially critical science fiction as being the more important part in the enchantment of the film. A later movie with similar intent is Gattaca - both these handle the subject of being different in an intolerant society. But where Gattaca is cooler and more controlled, Daybreak is a bit more lightheaded and dramatic - an ounce of romance counters nicely the oozing intellectuality of the newer creation...
  • falleralla5 November 2018
    The lighting looks like it's made by a kid using old solariums and the acting is stunningly bad, how is it possible that good actors like Cuba Gording can be this bad? Maybe someone could enjoy this as a school example on how not to shoot a movie. The idea is not bad but they wasted an opportunity. If you're going to watch it anyway be sure to look a bit extra on how the light is set, it's almost amusing.
  • I watched this last night, as it was on a DVD with something else I could have survived without seeing. The first thing that came to mind was 1984. Bleak and miserable settings; people doing manual labor that you'd suspect they wouldn't be doing if they had a choice; and being urged to report on one another - all for their own good of course. And then, for some strange reason, the old Gregory Harrison TV series, Logan's Run, popped up - what they told you you'd get and what you actually got were two different things. Add just a tiny pinch of Brave New World, and WELCOME TO YOUR FUTURE.

    Of course, having not seen this until 2006, it all seems a bit far fetched now. When AIDS first appeared on the scene in the early 80s, far from introducing strict quarantine, there were calls for homosexuality to be legalized. And Political Correctness has now determined that illness - instead of making you a candidate for extermination - will more likely ensure that you'll never be found guilty of committing a crime. My illness made me do it! So a conceivable future? NOT IN MY LIFETIME.

    But love still was able to bloom, in this unlikely nightmare world, between a young freedom fighter and a new recruit to the cause. Perhaps the total abandon with which Blue conducted her sex life is indicative of how the disease got to be so rampant in the first place? Be warned, kiddies! Get it on before you get it off. Add a betrayal and then assistance from an unexpected source......

    Well at least it was something to do while I was waiting for my cat to come home.
  • While the movie is interesting, this is as close to propaganda filming as I have seen this late in the century. If michael moore made dramas, this would be one.

    The US is a crumbling third world country, and the local street gangs are part of the government's fascist enforcement. Can you say Nazi? If this were a blog, they would have envoked Godwyn's law and be done with it.

    OK, so Cuba gets sick and has to go to a "camp" where the government will make him very comfortable while they look for a cure. But everyone knows thats not what happens. Can you say "Concentration Camp" and "AIDS"?

    This movie was made to make a point about how AIDS is killing people and the government is not doing enough, but instead it comes off like the psycho nut liberal fanatic at a party that you wish you hadn't started a conversation with.

    That said, it is certainly memorable, and the movie, while intentionally frustrating, is interesting enough to watch... if you can keep from rolling your eyes ever five minutes.
  • masterjk214 October 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    The good news...Gooding is good. That's it, nothing else. The bad news... almost everything else. Obviously this was a play/movie written about the US with the specter of AIDS in mind. In 1993, it might have been horrifying. But one of the yardsticks by which to judge works of art is durability... I can still watch Metropolis and marvel at its perception. This work makes me marvel that it was even released. So, it's Sci-Fi? When is it supposed to be happening? Looks like 1993 or earlier to me. Well, as far as I know, bush wasn't president then and all this fascist drivel was not being dished up by Clinton in 1993. It's hard to tell which is more inept, the govt. or the insurgents. The insurgents seem to have little ability to plan and the govt. couldn't catch a cold. Every time they get near the insurgents to capture them, everyone starts running around like KeyStone Kops and the "terrorists" get away. Gooding is good, but Kelly is not (although she can be.) Her lines are so sickeningly sweet, one feels he's been globbed by a honey pot every time she starts one of her love chats. Everyone else is just predictable. If this was supposed to be a projection of what might happen if no cure for AIDS was found and they started quarantining, I suppose it was worth the effort. It does depict people as having few morals except for self-preservation. That's accurate.
  • If you want to see some fine actors in a really bad movie, this is it.

    "Daybreak" is a poorly written and drawn out science fiction about

    a fascist US government using the fear and paranoia of a virus to

    control the population.

    But instead of a riveting drama focused on the misuse of

    information and abuse of public office, "Daybreak" weighs itself

    down with a romance that buries any possibility of strong social


    Regardless, a young Cuba Gooding Jr., Moira Kelly and Martha

    Plimpton show their merit.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As I watched this movie, much of the plot points felt like they were building a world. Setting the stage for character relationships between friends on opposite sides of the"battle" (Blue/Laurie, Bucky/Hunter). This sensation of a TV Pilot really was cemented in the closing scene, where Blue takes the mantle of leadership from Torch as the new resistance team strolls down the street making plans of action for the future.

    All in all, I think that this was a fun adventure to go on. Imagine this new TV show around the time of OZ or the Sopranos. Also coming out just before Demolition Man, Johnny Mnemonic or Virtuosity (the 1990s dystopian mini-era). And during a time where theories about AIDS being a government conspiracy, this was an interesting concept.

    I also liked some great performances of stars before they were stars (Omar Epps, David Eigenberg). Cuba was already hot off of Boyz in the Hood fame, but he was of course outstanding in this road. Moira Kelly was an interesting choice, but I didn't find her particularly believable or compelling. Martha Plimpton of course turns out another believable performance and continues to show her versatility.

    Keep in mind that this Pilot theory is not based on anything concrete, but just an impression I got while watching. I don't have any producer interviews or behind the scenes Intel to back this up. Just a fun mental experiment to think about.
  • With all of the big names such as Cuba Gooding jr, Omar Epps, and a few more Hollywood Heavy Hitters the movie omits racism, politics, and religion, while at the same time exposes how people feel about the government and health care, if you ask me, it introduced the Obama, Trump Era.