Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse [Movie Review, Screened at FilmQuest Film Festival 2017]
Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse looks at surviving an apocalyptic event by the common man. The apocalypse has come and Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani are a comedic couple in Los Angeles faced with making the decision of what to do.
It all begins as a simple blackout. Since everyone has dealt with a blackout before they do what I think we would all do, they wait. The situation doesn’t get any better. They eventually find out it’s not just a local problem, but still consider the situation something the proper authorities will resolve.
After the water and gas to their apartment run out, the decision to stay in LA changes. They decide it’s time to leave. They pack their essentials into their car, which is a great play on modern society and what so many people consider essentials for living, and leave to seek shelter with a friend living in a commune. Their first stop is to get supplies at the local market.
As anticipated the market has been picked clean of anything useful. However, they do meet some old friends for a nice chat to catch-up. When leaving the store, they have their car stolen (by police officers). Even though they have a destination, they need to find a way to get there.
The rest of the movie is about their encounters and how they deal with them. I’m not going any further into the story because I keep going back and editing out spoilers of the parts the made me laugh. I will say that even though I saw a number of the jokes being set up, they were delivered in a fashion that made the movie work.
Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse ties comedic elements with real concerns about what could happen when we are faced with a societal calamity. It uses an over-the-top approach to explore the problems a common couple have to deal with. But, even with the serious topic, the humor is not lost and is heightened by the sharp counterpoint of the issues and how they deal with them.
Cast and Acting
I was seeing myself and people I know portrayed on the screen. Along with their own talents, the casting of the rest of the characters is a success. Everyone fits the characters they’re playing. Of course, some of them are being played to an extreme level, which is done with a near perfection. Even when it was a clear setup to a visual gag, it was delivered with timing that increased the fun instead of dreading the outcome. You can tell Devine and Diani are based out of LA with the people they have showing up on screen with them.
With the extreme aspects of the plot it could be easy to lose the story. The story of Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse pulls it off with great writing (winner at FilmQuest for Best Screenplay) and directing (nominated for best director). This could have gone the other way because Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani wrote and directed their movie, along with starring in it. I am willing to suspect they filled in on other areas. Some works where the creator(s) are this heavily involved can go bad as they become so serious about the “ownership” and outcome of their film. In this case, the outcome is opposite with a presentation that is not only owned by them. Every actor/character feels like they are completely involved.
I saw Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse at the 2017 FilmQuest Film Festival. It was nominated for award in five categories: Best Director, Best Actor (Gabriel Diani), Best Costumes, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Screenplay (Winner), The Minerva Award – Female Filmmaker Prize. Other noted cast includes Barry Bostwick, Kirsten Vangsness, Johnathon Silverman, and Cole Stratton. The movie runs 90 minutes.
It is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit.
The combination work Devine and Diani put into their film creates a synergy between the various roles to give us characters (who may be based on their real lives) who are true to the story. The portrayal on the screen is great as they succeeded in directing themselves and the rest of the cast.
I can see this comedic adventure into a near future apocalypse becoming a cult classic. Some movies make this because they are so bad, while others do it because they are good and fun enough to see more than once. Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse as being part of the second category.
There are subtleties shared in the movie that kept me and the people I was sitting by watching. I know a missed some, and would be interested in going back just to read the T-shirts.
I give Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse (4.0 / 5).