Director & Screenwriter: Nir Paniry A scientist is trapped in the memories of a criminal and must solve a crime in order to get back home to his family. Cast: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen, Nick Jameson, Brad Culver (World Premiere)
Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)
WHO'S IT FOR?: Fans who are perfectly satisfied by science fiction television shows.
Extracted has a concept that is perfectly sexy for the lower standards of a cable TV series. With its simple story and lack of magnetic tension, it's a reminder of the lower attention span asked for by most TV shows compared to any theatrical experience. Most TV shows (especially the ones that look like Extracted) feel like they're meant to amuse viewers in-between commercial breaks. Viewers can move about their rooms while full episodes play out. Films, on the other hand, require a do-or-die attitude (at least when you're not a texting, talking, or tweeting a**hole). To ultimately abandon a movie, you have to walk out - which is exactly what someone sitting next to me did midway through this film. (Of course, there could have been other reasons for a hasty departure, but I'm simply remembering an event.)
Extracted tells a melodramatic science fiction story on a concise budget. The concept of a man who can "visit memories" is a perfect set-up for multiple episodes. However, this slow snoozer plays out like the elongated pilot of a television show with a questionable future. With its moody lighting and particular digital cinematography, it even looks like something you'd see first on TV.
The film even keeps to the comparatively mediocre expectations of cable TV, by opting for cliched characters. Yes, there's an evil man with a southern accent in a suit. There's also a shaggy drug addict who looks like he went to Stephen Dorff's imaginary acting class.
Extracted prefers hokey drama first over fresh writing. It handles big concepts with notably small effort, expecting small surprises to pay off like mind-bending gangbusters. Instead, only some of its twists work - the third act is finally when this movie offers a sign of life - but even the concluding Nolan-esque twist is an unnecessary throwaway.
DIY science fiction has seen some bright days, (and on presumably lower budgets); Extracted is not one of these luminous moments.
I don't know how this movie got into SXSW, especially over what is probably a hundred other worthy films. The only excuse I can imagine is that some SXSW head honcho had a stack of screeners for potential festival movies, and a stack of screeners for straight-to-DVD films next to it. While figuring out some SXSW business, which probably included figuring out how much Tito's Homemade Vodka to portion to each badge holder and agreeing on the usage of "Homeless Hotspots," the stacks must have been knocked over. With mostly a good memory, said head honcho was able to put the SXSW-worthy movies in the correct pile, except for the one that got away: Extracted.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10