Station Eleven [10/10]

Over ten faultless episodes, “Station Eleven” plunges the trembling viewer into a dystopian story both ravaging and inspiring. I wish I had read the much-praised novel (by Emily St. John Mandel) first but now, I’m not sure I can, so fine is the onscreen tale. A complex narrative with many moving parts, Station Eleven drops us into a world in which nine tenths of the world’s population is killed by a pandemic flu (yes, this scenario was posited half a decade before the Coronavirus) and gradually reveals the storylines of a dozen characters at the time of the ravaging and twenty years later. The storylines gradually (oh so patiently) interweave amidst the travails of a post-apocalyptic travelling Shakespearian troupe. Not a single actor is miscast or anything less than perfect on set, but particular mentions go to Matilda Lawler, breathtaking as the younger version of key character Kirsten; Mackenzie Davis as the grown-up version; Himesh Patel as one of two saintly brothers; David Wilmot as an egotistical actor-survivor; and Daniel Zovatto, beyond sinister and complex as “The Prophet.” Throughout the challenging click-click-click of the story strands making themselves known, runs the mysterious comic book Station Eleven and its ethereal astronaut savior. Dystopian books and films often over-portray; in Station Eleven, the horror of the times emerges obliquely and with devastating impact. Yet throughout the tragedies, grand and quotidian, runs a slender thread of hope, built around the notions of story and art and redemption. Outstanding filmic experience of 2022 so far … Station Eleven must be watched.

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