At first glance Nir Paniry’s neuro-trip Extracted (nee Extraction) can seem a little too Inception for its own good. Nolan’s cerebral masterpiece has unfortunately taken command of an entire ocean of narrative possibility meaning that no matter what happens, any film that tries to tackle this area will undoubtedly end up being compared to the mega budget, thrill ride of 2010. If you can stomach a first half that’s perhaps a little too caught up in the science of Inception and the near-monotonous base storyline of a scientist trapped in the machine of his own making, then the second act will impress with a well-tempered tale of cyclical abuse and the power of memory.
The basic story follows an obsessed scientist, Tom, (Sasha Roiz) who has created a machine capable of allowing a person into the memories of another, for the purposes of psychological therapy. The machine is tested on a junky convicted of shooting his girlfriend but something goes wrong trapping the scientist in the mind of a killer.
The key turning point for the film is when Paniry becomes less interested in the mind boggling genius of Tom’s endeavours, and more focused on the realities of venturing into a human mind. Unfortunately, though Roiz provides a solid performance, Tom’s drives and goals are quickly overtaken by the desperation and urgency of addict Anthony, here played wonderfully by Dominic Bogart. Anthony’s story arc is a far more interesting, complex chain of events punctuated by more edgy characters. The best of these is Anthony’s bilious but loving father played by the fantastic Frank Ashmore (The Lost Coat Tapes), an ever-magnetic screen underdog.
Come the end of the film, the Inception likeness pops up in a bittersweet but effectively grand finale accompanied by a Zimmer-esque piece of music. No matter what, it’s still a good end, better than the one they use, because here is a film that suffers from multiple ending syndrome. So many points present themselves and many would be suitable and great places to cap the tale, but Paniry goes for the one that is, if not pretentious, then dull in comparison to some of the other opportunities.
Extraction’s main issue is that it does seem a bit predisposed with trying to stay sharp and edgy, injecting moments of speed and action into an otherwise tame but thought-provoking affair. Overall it’s a fairly good go at the cerebral thriller genre, boring at points but still an enjoyable watch.
Dir. Nir Paniry
Stars. Sasha Roiz, Jenny Mollen, Dominic Bogart, Richard Riehle, Frank Ashmore, Augie Duke,