Re-Generation (2004)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Sci-Fi


Re-Generation (2004) Poster

A man in a barren Canadian landscape builds artificial legs for an invalid woman.


5.3/10
138

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User Reviews


19 September 2004 | troubadour-2
7
| Go and see this film.
The Limb Salesman is a small, indy film with big ambition and

unique ideas. It is the story of a drug-addicted 'limb salesman'

(Dr. Goode) living with a mechanical heart whose life changes

when he falls in love with one of this patients (Clara). Set sometime

in the late 21st century, it paints a grim and entirely plausible picture

of a frighteningly dystopia Canadian future. The world's fortunes

turn not on gold or oil but on water, and of course Canada is ripe

with that particular commodity. There is an incredible shot of the

tattered remains of a Canadian flag atop an isolated mansion in a

bleak, wintry landscape during the opening sequence of the film that

will possibly tell you more about the continued erosion of our

ecological and economic independence than dinner and a lecture

with Naomi Klein.

From a special effects point of view, it's pointless to compare the

innovations of this film to the technical achievements of sci-fi

blockbusters like the Matrix or Spiderman. These studio-fed pictures

are drawing on 100 million budgets, and Anais Granofsky clearly is

not, choosing instead to create her dystopia future in more

imaginative ways. There are some wonderfully simple devices at

work here. Everything is back lit by an endlessly blown-out sky,

always ever-so-subtly a greener shade of yellow. People speak in

hushed tones about ominous-sounding places like City and

Junction, leaving our imagination to gnaw on something a hundred

times more mysterious than the latest CGI-inspired 'world of

tomorrow.'

I love films that have the nerve to portray the future as a slightly more

mundane and ordinary version of the present, and the Limb Salesman

is no exception. Like Gilliam's Brazil, the future is less a promised land of technological gizmos and smooth, sleek surfaces than a hodgepodge of broken machines and long-dead fashions that speak to a

society desperately nostalgic for a whiff of their own past. Just ask the Hollywood studios if this is true, whose pathetic reliance on lukewarm remakes of middling and mid-century movies is barometric proof that rear view mirror-gazing is the next big thing. The Limb Salesman plays with this idea admirably, adorning the heroine in a striking union of vintage Victorian dress and Rasta Goldilocks. There is even a priceless moment when someone has enough pluck to rev up a rusty,

old gramophone for our musical enjoyment.

The use of water in the film is pure thematic genius. In my favourite scene of the film, we're left to ponder our own cold insensibility when two human

beings indulge in small thimblefuls of water with the orgiastic intensity one might reserve for the elixir of immortal life. And the brilliant irony of situating the story smack dab in the middle of an endless landscape of lethally polluted

snow resonates impressively with the plight of the Ancient Mariner:

"Water, water, everywhere...and not a drop to drink."

The cast is mostly good, with intricately understated work from Peter Stebbins and an open-hearted freshness from Ingrid Veninger. Seasoned

pros Jackie Burroughs and Clark Johnson anchor the cast with rock

solid characterizations, and Julian Richings offers up a fascinating diversion in the bowels of City.

The music and cinematography are breathtakingly beautiful, and so inextricably woven together that the composer and DOP deserve some

kind of hybrid Genie award.

If there is a problem with this film it's in the script. Too often films get made before they have finished being written, and I felt at times the Limb Salesman suffering from this fate - in the absence of a clear protagonist. The story begins and ends with the prodigiously weak-hearted Dr. Goode, but it is Clara we most care about, and it is clearly her story we are urged to follow in the early going of the film. I felt irritatingly torn between these two opposites, and

equally frustrated by the resolution of their story lines into one underlying theme of self-sacrifice. But maybe that was the filmmakers intention all along, and anyway, who quibbles over protagonist shifts when there's a dinner like this on the table?

Certainly not Quentin Tarantino.

Critic Reviews


Details

Release Date:

12 September 2004

Language

English


Country of Origin

Canada

Filming Locations

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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