The science fiction thriller/drama 10,000 Days is a post-disaster film taking place in the near future, twenty-seven years after a comet hit the Earth, knocking it out of its normal orbit and thereby causing a new ice age. Survivors in the Rocky Mountains have split into two rival clans, the Becks and the Farnwells, and have to struggle for diminishing resources. The film has now received a digital release through MarVista Entertainment.
The film (which was originally released as a web series) opens with some folks from the Farnwell clan desperately running across a bleak winter landscape as tremors cause chasms to open around them. All but a boy lose their lives, plunging into a deep chasm in the ice. William Beck (John Schneider) later finds the boy and brings him to the Becks’ stronghold. The boy’s presence reignites arguments among clan members as to the possible worsening of their situation. Plus, they believe his presence could lead to further confrontations between the clans.
Meanwhile members of the Becks explore a cavern and discover an airplane, which might provide answers to what happened, and might provide a solution to the dropping temperatures as well.
The film does a really good job of establishing the Becks clan’s home and the ways in which it functions, without relying on too much clunky exposition. It allows the story to give us the information as it goes, with regards to medicine and rationing of food and security and so on. And after a while we see how the Farnwells live as well. The contrast is great, but the concerns of the peoples are much the same. And we learn a bit of the history of how the one clan became two.
Though the film has all the elements of a science fiction disaster story, it is really the relationships among the characters that are at the heart of this one. There is a Romeo And Juliet-type romance among members of the two clans. And there are the relationships among the generations within the Becks. Perhaps most interesting is the relationship between William Beck and his two sons, Lucas and Sam, especially as it is Lucas, not William, that is the recognized leader of the clan. It is a story about human nature in the face of the very question of survival, and is about the fears and hopes, and the risks one might be willing to take when faced with possible destruction.
I like some of the small details of this film, which make it feel real. For example, when the Becks sit down to eat, there is a slight tremor, and they all automatically put their hands over their glasses to make sure they don’t lose a drop. This shows how tight resources are, and gives you the sense that liquid has been spilled in the past due to tremors and now it’s become instinct to protect their drinks. It’s just a short moment, but it helps to give a life and reality to the world of the film. This helps especially considering that much of the film was shot against a green screen and relies heavily on computer graphics. Some of the computer graphics look a bit awkward, such as the brief shot when one character rides a snowboard down into a cavern. But again, it’s really the characters that drive this story.
This film has a good cast. In addition to John Schneider (who will of course always be known for his roles in Smallville and The Dukes Of Hazzard), 10,000 Days stars Peter Wingfield (Holby City), James Harvey Ward (Saints & Sinners), Kim Myers (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, The Dust Factory), Riley Smith (24, True Blood), and Lisa Pelikan (Ghoulies). 10,000 Days was written and directed by Eric Small, who also wrote and directed The Dust Factory. It was released on October 10, 2014 through MarVista Entertainment.