Author(s): Bryce / Zgamer
Location: CA / ID
Written and directed by: Frank Darabont
Based on the game Bishock by Ken Levine and 2K Games
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Art Direction by Dante Ferretti
Original Score by Thomas Newman
Peter Krause as Jack
Tim Roth as Atlas
Daniel Day-Lewis as Andrew Ryan
Marina Gedeck as Dr. Bridgette Tenenbaum
Tagline: "No Gods or Kings. Only Man"- Andrew Ryan
"I am Andrew Ryan and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? No, says the man in Washington, it belongs to the poor. No, says the man in the Vatican, it belongs to God! No, says the man in Moscow, it belongs to everyone. I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...Rapture!"
As the automated bathysphere passed over the underwater ridge, a city became visible in the distance. Jack, astonished by this discovery, watched as the lights of this submerged wonder flicker by. Never before had Jack seen a city so spacious and beautiful. Then, his eye caught something sinking towards the ground: the hull of the airplane. Jack took a second to recall the event that brought him to the lighthouse where the bathysphere waited for him. Strangely, he wasn't sure what to make of it. One minute he was sitting in his seat on the plane, the next he was submerged in water kicking towards the surface. It all seemed to be a blur. The message on the radio continued…
"A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."
The bathysphere now rose up a small entryway. As the fathom counter on the door dwindled, the sight outside began to change. The walls became grimy and the grand statues that lined the walls turned to rubble. The bathysphere breached the surface, and that is when Jack realized the beauty he saw earlier was gone. A frightened man stood outside the bathysphere, backing up from an obscure human shape in front of him. His pleads of mercy proved useless as the shape leaped forward and shoved a curved knife into his chest. The lights faded and blood sprayed on the bathysphere’s glass door as the man was gutted alive. When the lights returned, the shape was gone. Then, a voice was heard.
"Would you kindly pick up this radio?"
Jack picked it up, without hesitation.
"I don't know how you survived that plane crash, but I've never been one to question providence. I'm Atlas, and I plan to keep you alive. Now keep on moving, we're gonna have to get you to higher ground."
As Jack exited the bathysphere and walked through the dark hallways, a feeling of dread came over him. Posters bearing the face of a mysterious scientist named Tenenbaum litter the floor. Thunderous footsteps rumbled in the distance, to which Jack can only assume is something that he should try and avoid. And in every hall, there seems to be some form of leak as the ocean began its process of reclaiming the city. It was a sad sight, since Jack could imagine that this was once a beautiful place. Now, it would be an obstacle that needed to be overcome, in order for him to survive.
What the Press would say:
The perfect society. Is such a thing possible in this day and age? What is a perfect society anyways? In Andrew Ryan's words, it is a place "where the artist does not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small." Alas, as the viewer watches the film, they soon learn that this dream is impossible. This is one of the many themes explored in "Rapture", Frank Darabont's atmospheric adaptation of the acclaimed video game "Bioshock". A combination of horror, philosophy, morals and powerful suspense, "Rapture" may be the film that earns Darabont his Oscar.
Darabont had a hard task ahead of him, but he handles everything professionally. While Darabont focuses on only one central character for most of the film, he never lets that get in the way of the storytelling. Aided by his intelligent and literate script, Darabont gives every scene in the film depth and atmosphere, much of which requires a second viewing to really see. The way he blends horror, drama and atmosphere is so effective that it makes the story of "Rapture" flow smoothly to its exciting dénouement. Thankfully, the mentioned scares are much more than just "boos". Tension is pivotal to the films story and Darabont never resorts to cheap tricks to discomfort or disgust you. Everything, especially the scares, comes very naturally.
Before we continue, let us point out that "Rapture" has a baffling amount of philosophical and moral insight, similar to its source material. The world of Rapture is one wrapped in mystery, with debris of a once thriving society littered upon the damp halls and broken dreams. And what's to blame for this? Unmitigated objectivism. This was the philosophy of Ayn Rand's and "Rapture" makes it very clear how it feels such ways only lead to chaos (A funny note: notice Andrew Ryan's name sounds a lot like hers). While the film doesn't reject objectivism, it makes its case on how Ryan was wrong to believe that he could create a society where everyone was free to experiment without consequence. It was this freedom that led the citizens into their addiction to the substance "Adam" and it's that freedom that continually destroys the city. Human nature doesn't allow such lack of restriction and often provides a way to hinder it (this is where Atlas fits). So how much freedom should one be allowed before they go too far? This is the film's most engaging question and it may well be this fact alone that qualifies Rapture as an Oscar worthy film rather than just a very good one.
The technical effects are outstanding. The cinematography is crisp and clear, always positioned in the best place to make even the most unconventional shot eye-catching. The colors used for the environments are dark and eerie, setting the right tone for this suspenseful film. The sound design is top notch, from the subtle dripping of the leaking ocean water to crackly music playing through the radios. Speaking of which, the score here is powerful, mixing classic 60's style with atmospheric tunes and all played on a beautiful violin. However, Bioshock's most powerful technical feature is the art direction. Simply put, Rapture is one of the most visually stunning decaying cities ever put onscreen. The art style is creative and unique, mixing elements of Jules Verne science fiction with an art deco design to create a very distinct setting. Everywhere you look, the amount of care put into the surroundings is amazing. Rooms filled with broken wine bottles, water slowly leaking into vacant tunnels, children toys abandoned among the debris of bullet casings. Rapture's destroyed beauty will mystify you as much as it makes you uncomfortable.
Although technically impressive, where would the film be without a stellar cast? Despite the short supply of characters, all the leads give bravura performances. Peter Krause excels as main character Jack, who despite his expressive performance remains a complex and enigmatic character throughout the film. All his subtleties are fully realized as Krause gives us a character that compels us to watch his progress. The rest of the key players all do their part well, from Roth's surprisingly manipulative Atlas to Gedeck's minor but important role. However, the star of the film is Daniel-Day Lewis in his most commercial role yet. Lewis transforms himself into a character too complex to judge as just a villain. True, he is the nemesis throughout a majority of the film, but the intelligent, precise manner Lewis uses to balance his character's insanity and ambition makes Ryan’s logic seem…well, logical. You almost feel sorry for Andrew Ryan, who once had such promise but then destroyed it with his own pride and paranoia. It also helps that Lewis has some of the most quotable lines in the whole movie, including the powerful "Man or Slave" speech from the source material.
Rapture is a must see in all aspects. Despite its horror elements and few action sequences, it’s philosophical insights, intelligent writing and stellar acting classify it as Oscar worthy.
Best Director (Frank Durabont)
Best Actor (Peter Krause)
Best Supporting Actor (Daniel-Day Lewis)
Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
Best Art Direction (Dante Ferretti)
Best Sound Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score (Thomas Newman)