Restore Point (Bod obnovy) : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on March 27, 2024 in / No Comments

 

Not Rated by the MPA (contains bloody violence and some language – equivalent to R). In Czech with English subtitles. Running time: 111 minutes. Released by XYZ Films and Plaion Pictures.

Available in the UK on Digital Download from 1st April; pre-order available at iTunes and Amazon.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, XYZ Films, Plaion Pictures, Restore Point, Bod ObnovyYou know how sometimes, you’re watching a movie and you feel like you’ve seen it done before, but there’s enough of a new spin given to it that makes it feel fresh and vital? I got that same feeling from director Robert Hloz’s Restore Point (original Czech title: Bod obnovy), a film set in a dystopian future where a technology giant has advanced biotechnology to the point where people can be resurrected using computer backups (along with a medical process healing whatever damage has been done). Of course, as sci-fi goes, there’s a bug in the system or some resistance faction gumming things up, and a lone agent has to root out both external and internal malefactors in the way of the company’s progress.

It’s a truly fascinating world we’re drawn into, where little Walkman-shaped units carry the entirety of one’s life; these 48-hour backups (which require constant manual updates) come in handy if the bearer dies an unnatural death (murder, car accident, etc.). As the opening text tells us, the Restoration Institute was created due to social inequality and the rising crime that accompanied it, eventually becoming so necessary that these backups evolved into a constitutional right for all. And as sure as the capitalistic world turns, the Institute’s about to be privatized and updated with a better, instant backup system, a slap in the face for the larger public, as only the moneyed and the powerful will have access to it.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, XYZ Films, Plaion Pictures, Restore Point, Bod ObnovyHloz – who also shares writing credits with Tomislav Čečka and Zdeněk Jecelín – wastes no time acquainting us with 2042 Central Europe, kicking us off with Detective Emma Trochinowska (Andrea Mohylová) disobeying direct orders in an attempt to save terrorist hostages being murdered. We’re familiarized with the look and technology of the time, as these hostages’ restore points expire within minutes of the opening. A building is said to have no signs of life, but Trochinowska’s strong-headed pursuit reveals that the police scanners are being tricked, evidenced by gunshots heard from an upper floor. Right away, this overreliance on technology and how easily it is duped sets us on high alert: If authorities only go by what they see on their scanners and their monitors, what else are they missing?

Much like Captain Bryant assigns Rick Deckard to a heavy case in Blade Runner, Trochinowska’s superior – after reprimanding her for not following orders or being a team player – assigns her to a double murder where neither of the victims had functioning backups. The inventor of the restore point, David Kurlstat (Matěj Hádek), and his wife Kristina (Katarzyna Zawadzka) have been respectively stabbed and strangled – supposedly by the anti-restoration group The River of Life – and left for dead on the city streets. But a wrinkle comes in the form of David himself, restored from a six-month-old restore point, considered illegal and unsustainable; the mind and the flesh, separated for that long, are not exactly fully compatible, resulting in severe illness and possible death days later. Together, they attempt to get to the bottom of the double murder, hampered severely by their placement on the wanted list, trumpeted across screens and electronic newspapers everywhere.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, XYZ Films, Plaion Pictures, Restore Point, Bod ObnovyRestore Point is, as I said before, truly fascinating in its scope, visuals, world-building, execution, and ethical conundrums. In his feature-length directorial debut, Hloz combines bits and pieces of films like Blade Runner, Minority Report, and Blade II, along with the moral implications of scientific resurrection. Are we playing God by allowing a life – cut short by violence – to continue? Or are we simply allowing people to reach their destined end? Another question evolves out of the film’s ending, made plain by Trochinowska’s superior – a moral quandary that will have you thinking about it for days afterward. Conversely, is The River of Life not also playing God by murdering innocents after their restore point expires? This film asks a lot of the viewer and makes them earn the knowledge it has to impart, but it also leaves us with questions that warrant serious consideration.

Andrea Mohylová provides a solid backbone as the beleaguered cop assigned to a mind-bender of a case. She gives Trochinowska tough physicality and an intense demeanor, both of which function as shields she’s picked up in the wake of a devastating loss. Mohylová plays her as straightforward as possible, with her clipped speech only letting on the barest of details; it’s through her actions and her silence that we get to know who Trochinowska is, and Mohylová’s talents are good enough to intimate those details without speaking a word. She’s electric to watch and even more satisfying to understand, combined qualities that help Restore Point vault past its influences.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, XYZ Films, Plaion Pictures, Restore Point, Bod ObnovyRobert Hloz has put together a very good-looking, thought-provoking sci-fi adventure that relies on our inherent biases and turns them against us, asking us to reconsider “villain” vs. “hero” and if restoration is an improvement to society or a hindrance. How far is too far, especially when it comes to technology? And if one is resurrected, are they truly “themselves” when they come back? Restore Point asks a lot of questions; better yet, it isn’t afraid to ask those questions or go where it needs to, even if we’re made uncomfortable by the truth. Its fearlessness makes it compelling, guiding us down pathways of the mind and the impossible, even if it means treading into waters we weren’t meant to traverse.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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