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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'POWERLESS'
- Directed by Sarrio David -

“Powerless” in not the usual superhero story. In a futuristic megalopolis, superheroes are just a marketing tools, empowered and controlled by big companies. Christopher Wyatt, who works as Power Man, is the main hero figure for General Electric. But the media exposes him cheating on his wife and the involved woman claims to have been abused, so Wyatt is canceled his contract and must give up his Power Man suit and the belt that amplifies his powers to a superhero level. Jobless and despised, he decides to continue his social justice work, even without the suit.

 

This is a captivating story, in terms of content and form. First of all, the depicted sci-fi universe is far more grounded in reality than we usually get to see in the blockbuster movies. There is no demonic figure of an antagonist, but the overruling economic force of corporations. Superheroes are powered by them, so becoming one it’s a choice, not a fate. And the most important, being a superhero is only a job, one can easily lose. The film is ultimately about the downfall of a public figure that has to find its true purpose in life. It is a character-centered film, not an action-packed one. We mostly see our protagonist laying around depressed, which turns upside down the iconic image of the superhero. In the end, Wyatt understands he can continue to do good, but it will be more dangerous and he will get no recognition – that will be his purgatory.

 

The film manages to create a genuine and heartfelt story superhero story ditching Hollywood cliches, but one unfortunate habit is borrowed from commercial cinema and that is the unfortunate depiction of women. Power Man loses his job because of a “crazy woman” that wanted to have some intimate moments with him in his costume and who later declared to be abused. The information is presented as something to take for granted: of course, the woman is lying. The others female presented are an ex-wife in tears and a lady harassed by some rapists.

 

The visuals are less polished than those of a big-budget sci-fi, but the natural feel builds closeness with the audience. The linear editing is interrupted just by a few flashbacks from the glory days of Power Man, while the soundtrack helps the narrative with a hint of suspense or emotion.

 

Last, but not the least,  “Powerless” is a riveting superhero story that features a talented actor who delivers an authentic performance.