Review: Extraction / Cert: 18 / Director: Nir Paniry / Screenplay: Nir Paniry / Starring: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen / Release Date: August 26th
In literature, big ideas are what propel science fiction, and every now and then this is true of cinema as well. In amongst the giant robots and mega violence, occasionally a film with a fascinating, thought-provoking central proposition will get through and have people talking and proclaiming it a classic. Extraction could have been such a film at one point, but it sadly lacks the polish and execution that might have pushed it to the top.
Tom Jacobs (Roiz) is an idealistic inventor who has rustled up some technology that will allow users to record and re-live their most treasured memories. Tom’s financial backers want him to take a lucrative deal from the justice department which will enable them to view suspects' memories in order to get a conviction. Although this goes against everything he set out to do, Tom agrees to this in order to support his young family. The first test subject for this is murder suspect and former heroin addict Anthony (Bogart) who claims he is innocent of killing his girlfriend. Due to a technical mishap, Tom becomes trapped in this man’s memories whilst his body remains in a coma in the real world. Over a period of four years, Tom eventually makes contact with Anthony through his subconscious and inserts himself into the memories of the most pivotal moments of his life. They have to work together in order to get Tom back to the real world and for Anthony to prove his innocence.
The problem with Extraction is that the central idea completely falls apart under close scrutiny. Think about anything in this film beyond the surface and it doesn’t add up. Writer and director Nir Paniry has some big ideas about memory, existence and the nature of brainwashing, but the problem is he can’t really focus these ideas into a coherent script. Roiz (best known as a villain in any recent TV show you care to mention) and Dominic Bogart do a pretty good job here but aren’t backed up by the rest of the production. Paniry’s direction lacks a certain urgency and the race against time aspect never really comes across the way it should. It’s sadly another case of a film being content to coast on the strength of its initial premise without any real thought of making a lasting impression. Extraction is a film with a lot on its mind and so it gets a pass for that but you can’t help thinking it should have been much more.