THE HUMAN RACE (2013)
Written and directed by Paul Hough
Screened at Grimmfest 2013
The Human Race is an intriguing sci-fi-esque action thriller, which concentrates on the lives and relationships of these people it has thrown together and how they all became to be in the race. The main protagonists are best friends Justin and Eddie, two former soldiers who served together during the war. Eddie succumbed to an explosion which saw him lose a leg but Justin was there to help him through it. Back in the States, Justin is a teacher of sign language and Eddie helps out, councilling those affected to understand a disability and get through it. Eddie is actually disabled in real life, as are the two deaf characters. Whilst we are aware of their disabilities in the film, the story does not focus on this but on the personalities of the characters themselves. Each character dropped into the race has their own mind and personality. Not all of them are wholly good, not all of them are totally bad, and things are certainly not black or white when it comes to decisions they make.
As the group are thrust into the unknown, they must begin to trust one another, as it is clear some are more able to take part in the race than others, such as two young children and a pensioner. Justin and Eddie try to organise the group and tell them to slow down, but some are adament to ‘win’ at all costs.
The Human Race keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat as the viewer shares the disorientation of the characters. They’re running for their lives as they have been told, witnessing the consequences if they fail or even step off the path onto the grass. But it’s not the race they have to conquer. It’s each other. Writer and director Paul Hough does a good job at exploring this and how an individual reacts and makes different choices, both good and bad.
An excellent cast make for an enjoyable, gripping race, that has us guessing until the final moments. We share the moments of emotion with the characters, in particular Eddie, Justin and the deaf couple. Eddie makes a great acton protagonist, putting his military combat skill to some good use with his crutches.
If you like films like Battle Royale but not as hardcore crazy yet still with a splatter of blood, then I think you’ll enjoy this more thoughtful sci-fi thriller.