Gensan (David Dastmalchian) and Ruby (Karen Gillan) live on the fringes of society in Los Angeles, struggling to survive in the face of abject poverty. On a fateful night, they strike out to seize something that has always been denied them, which sets in motion a series of events with dire consequences. Their impulsively committed crime puts them on the run from the police. They seek refuge in their hometown of Kansas City, a place filled with the dark secrets that have haunted them since they fled years ago.
What We Thought:
Most movies nowadays you see what’s coming a mile away. Either the film isn’t as smart as it thinks it is or so much has been spoiled through interviews, news, social media or whatever. I can 100% admit I did not see the twist and ending to All Creatures Here Below coming in the slightest. It’s almost two different movies because of it and I love that it didn’t go in any sort of expected direction.
The movie is about Gensan and Ruby who at first you think are junkies or recovering junkies. She gets fired from a cleaning job. He loses his job making pizzas. They are just two people society seems to have forgotten. They live in poverty, but do seem to love each other. Gensan thinks he’s found a way to make some quick money, but it goes wrong and he gets himself into more trouble. Meanwhile Ruby takes a baby and hits the road with Gensan. (I’m not really sure if that’s a spoiler because you do see the baby in the trailer below.) They leave California wanting to return home. Then there’s a HUGE reveal I won’t spoil and the shocking ending which I also won’t spoil. I certainly didn’t see either one coming especially the reveal.
The first half of the movie is your standard independent film. It’s a personal narrative shining some light on people who you don’t see too often in movies. It’s very character driven with a story about two struggling people. Then it gets dark and I mean dark. It’s hard to explain without spoiling, but that reveal will punch you in the face. It completely caught me off guard and I’m glad it did.
David Dastmalchian wrote and stars in the film as Gensan. He’s very good and has great chemistry with Karen Gillan. It’s Gillan that’s the surprise here though. Not that I’ve ever thought of her as a bad actress or anything, but with shows like Doctor Who and films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Endgame, you don’t ever see her give a performance like this. The lovely Scottish redhead captures that downtrodden American street person type better than a lot of American actresses could. Her performance is even better after the reveal and you realize the type of character she’s really portraying. Sure as a Whovian I’ve loved her since playing Amy Pond, but this is a performance that will open some eyes. It’s a real turn for her as an actress.
All Creatures Here Below is the type of film mainstream audiences won’t see. It’s not going to make billions of dollars like Ms. Gillan’s current movie at the box office, but it’s the type of flick that reminds you that there are some people out there still trying to make quality films. Both leads are very good and any time a movie can genuinely catch me off guard I have to recommend it.
Theatrical & VOD Release: May 17, 2019
Distribution Company: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Collin Schiffli
Writer: David Dastmalchian
Cast: Karen Gillan, David Dastmalchian, Jennifer Morrison, John Doe, Richard Cabral & David Koechner.
Producers: Amy Greene, Chris Stinson & Nacho Arenas
Runtime: 91 minutes