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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Waterborne (review)

Countless filmmakers are making a go of it without the involvement in any way of the corporate studios: not for financing, not for production, not for distribution. Here’s one of those superindie films.

Exactly two years ago, the just-barely-science-fiction Waterborne was the first movie to be made available via Google Video’s pay-per-download service. Google has since pulled the plug on that feature — alas; it’s an idea whose time will eventually come, and stay — but this is the kind of indie you want to launch that kind of service with: it’s smart, nicely acted, and it looks great, far sharper and more stylish than its reported $1 million budget would lead you to believe it could be. First-time writer-director Ben Rekhi posits a biological attack on the water supply of Los Angeles that sends the city into a tailspin when civil authorities warn everyone not to drink the water: not from taps, not from locally bottled water, not at all. Spot-on reproductions of news reports and tight, jittery scenes of angry crowds lend an air of urgency and urban scope, but the plotless plot revolves around just a few Angelinos as they cope with thirst and the ensuing civil unrest — Office Space’s Ajay Naidu stands out among the professional but unfamous cast as a young Indian Sikh suddenly facing numerous stresses both from within his traditional family and from without, as anxiety brings usually tampened down bigotry to the fore. An expressive distant cousin of those Sci Fi Channel Original flick we love to make fun of, this is the SF disaster film done up with real brains and real heart. [watch a trailer/rent at Netflix/buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: rated R for language, some violence and drug content

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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