Color me surprised, folks. This one is good.
I wasn’t expecting much from the trailer and pretty much put Man Vs on this afternoon just for something to play in the background while I worked. But goddamn, this movie snuck up on me. Though more of a collection of homages to older movies (saying which would give away plot elements), Man Vs is cleverly built, well paced, and self contained. It doesn’t feel the need to add unessisary elements or flashy editing; what you see is what you get. But what you get is something interesting.
This is a film made by people who love films and filmmaking. It’s a solid craft piece, well shot, solidly constructed, and I’m struggling to come up with things to say about it that won’t ruin the plot twist. I firmly believe this film does its best work with a cold audience and was pleasantly surprised to find I loved the damn thing after I watched it. Chris Diamantopoulos gives a flippant but surprisingly human performance as the movie’s protagonist, a TV survivalist who sets out in the Canadian wilderness and gets far more than he bargained for. His is a more laid-back performance, but I enjoyed the interplay of a character who knows he’s performing who is suddenly forced to go off script when the situation flies off the walls.
Quite honestly, saying much more about the film would give away too much. It’s small but self-contained, and knows what it’s doing. I’ll be getting a copy of this movie for my library.