Categories
Film

#85: The Humanity Bureau (2017)

My name is Ed and an oppressive government regime is threatening to deport me to a non-existent place unless I watch every Nicolas Cage film and win the lottery using numbers from within that film.

I was trying to figure out why the title The Humanity Bureau is suggestive of one of the various mostly terrible films adapted from a Philip K Dick short story and it turns out it’s just because there was one called The Adjustment Bureau which I think I have seen but could tell you nothing about that you couldn’t deduce from the poster. Anyway, The Humanity Bureau (which has nothing to do with Dick) is even shitter than that!

It is THE FUTURE and because of CLIMATE CHANGE and WARS and AGENDAS America has to send Nicolas Cage of The Humanity Bureau to deport anyone deemed not be contributing anything to the economy, but it’s okay because he’s deporting them to ‘New Eden’ which is definitely a real place and not a cover for something more sinister. One day he’s asked to deport a SINGLE MOTHER which leads to him turning his back on the Bureau in order for there to be a plot.

Most of the film takes place in a depressing washed-out brown wasteland, and yes okay that does make sense given it’s supposed to be set in the aftermath of an environmental apocalypse, but it’s also just a depressing washed-out brown wasteland of a film. There’s visibly no money involved whatsoever which means every twist and turn has to be told rather than shown – on top of which, everything that happens is either incredibly obvious or incredibly uninteresting. For something that’s notionally an action movie, the ‘high octane’ peaks look a lot like Nicolas Cage driving a car slightly fast while a man in an eyepatch shakes his fist.

Cage turns in a perfunctory performance which will be unrevealing to anyone who has watched any of the other 43 rubbish low budget thrillers he’d made this century. I hope he bought something nice.

To be fair he probably put more thought into his performance than anyone else contributed to the film. Throughout it’s made constantly clear how scarce water is to the point that clean water is basically a currency now, then at the end there’s just loads of snow everywhere and no-one seems that bothered and do they not know what snow is? Do I not know what snow is?

I just can’t get my head around the number of people who would have had to decide that this script was worth making. Was it good before they had to cut out all the scenes that would have cost more than 10 quid to shoot? Does the little kid in this have very rich parents who paid for him to be in a ‘real Hollywood film’ for his birthday? Did I just hit my head on something and have a very dull hallucination?

The grimmest suspicion of all is that actually, everyone involved thought this was a powerful look at where things were headed thanks to DONALD J CHUMP (there’s even an annoying line about it being ‘easier to build fear than build a wall’) or whatever. And well, he did lose the election, so I guess everyone did learn an important lesson from this film. Thanks The Humanity Bureau!

In order to say something nice, I will give the faintest of faint praise to Vicellous Shannon, who plays the villain’s inexplicable comedic sidekick, not because anything actually entertaining happens in his scenes, but just because the role is so incongruous with the rest of the film that it becomes inadvertently amusing. See also Nicolas Cage’s character being called Noah Kross which I really hope is supposed to be ‘clever’.

THE NUMBERS

2 – Noah Kross apparently once came 2nd place in the National Fly Fishing Competition.

4 – Noah Kross carries a Beretta PX4. This hasn’t yet been listed on the Internet Movie Firearms Database: what the fuck guys?

7 – 7 million people have been killed in New Eden. To be honest I was disappointed that it was only a death camp because I was really rooting for a Soylent Green rip-off.

11 – Lucas, the little boy, is 11 years old.

16 – Subsection 16 is the part of the relevant law that deals with deportation to New Eden.

41 – The first person we see Noah Kross trying to deport is the subject of casefile 56672941.

THE RESULT

Lottery draw: 2596

Date: Saturday 7 November, 2020

Jackpot: £20,000,000

Draw machine: Merlin

Ball set: 5

Balls drawn: 3,33,45,50,52,56

Bonus ball: 44

Numbers selected: 2,4,7,11,16,41

Matching balls: 0

Numbers selected (lucky dip): N/A

Matching balls (lucky dip): N/A

Winnings: £0 (£0 to date)

Total Profit/Loss: £-168

Oh well, off to New Eden with me then!

NEXT TIME ON WINNING THE LOTTERY WITH NICOLAS CAGE

Dark, Paul Schrader’s unofficial director’s cut version of 2014’s Dying of the Light, because it has its own IMDB entry and why not make life harder for myself than I strictly speaking need to?