RESTORE POINT Review: Have You Backed-Up Today?

Contributing Writer
RESTORE POINT Review: Have You Backed-Up Today?

It’s year 2041 and the technology has found a way to cheat death – to ensure it, you just need to remember to back-up your memory every 48 hours. The action takes place in an unspecified country in Central Europe where the titular tech was introduced as salvation in case of an unnatural death – any person can now be brought back to life via Restore Point, given that they weren’t negligent about their backups. Obviously, not everyone has been happy with this new development. Hence, the emergence of a mysterious terrorist group called River of Life and the string of murders that followed. 

Detective Em Trochinowska (mesmerizing Andrea Mohylová) – a no-nonsense lone wolf who has a personal vendetta against River of Life - gets a new case. A married couple was killed and weirdly, neither of them had backups. Which becomes all the more suspicious since the husband, David (Matěj Hádek) was a lead scientist at the restoration institute. While Trochinowska grapples with uncooperative institute officials and hostile Europol officers, David somehow turns up alive and ready to assist the investigation – even though he doesn’t recall several key details about what happened.

When approaching Restore Point, the debut feature of a Czech director Robert Hloz, it is crucial to get through the first ten or so minutes of talkative exposition. There, we get an obligatory scene where Trochinowska's boss (played by Jan Vlasák – the Dutch businessman from Hostel) reminds her that she doesn't like to follow the rules, isn't a good team player and that her husband was killed in one of the terrorist attacks. Soon enough though, the film switches to what Czech cinema has been long known for – captivating world building, all the more impressive since the movie’s budget approximately equals what any given MCU production spends on their opening credits sequences.

The small budget doesn't limit the futuristic set designs, but inspires them here. This world is filled with juxtaposition - torn between cool high-tech, glassy surfaces and holograms, and stuffy, shabby spaces filled with junk and laundry hanging on the outside poles. The colors are decidedly bleak with only brief bright splashes that don’t bring much hope to this gloomy, noirish world – which bears more and more resemblance to our own. Less creative is the work with the sound. Here, the authors choose to follow the path of Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott - relying on a classical refrain in the form of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune to dominate the score. 

The authors don't neglect the major tradition of sci-fi noir film that came before – so the film gently pays homages to Blade Runner, Strange Days, Dark City, Minority Report, a bit of Black Mirror etc. But the obvious references never feel overwhelming, as Restore Point still tells its own story and has its own ideas – which are captivating even if not entirely groundbreaking. As most sci-fi pieces do, Hloz’ film talks more about today than the possible future, and is not so much concerned with technology – but with humans who use it. It seems that the question about androids and their dreams of electric sheep was the wrong one all along. The more pressing matter, Restore Point seems to insist, is: what do people even dream of at this point?

Full Disclosure: Restore Point is an XYZ Films release. This has no influence on the review.

Restore Point

  • Robert Hloz
  • Tomislav Cecka
  • Robert Hloz
  • Zdenek Jecelin
  • Andrea Mohylová
  • Matej Hádek
  • Milan Ondrík
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Robert HlozTomislav CeckaZdenek JecelinAndrea MohylováMatej HádekMilan OndríkCrimeDramaSci-Fi

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