Movie Review: Post-apocalyptic survivors go stir-crazy in the low-budget Air

In Christian Cantamessa’s Air, the survivors of a global chemical war are left to hibernate in an underground vault, waiting for the day when the surface becomes livable again. This is one of those claustrophobic-industrial environments unique to low-budget sci-fi, with plenty of low-hanging pipes and fluorescent lights that shoot streaks of lens flare across the anamorphic frame. Most of the technology can be dated to around the release of Alien: phosphor monochrome monitors that read out in strings of green text, high-tech systems operated with rocker switches and knobs, staticky radio sets.

The camera often crawls at what feels like half-speed, as though it were recording it all for posterity. It brings to mind Roland Emmerich’s early German cheapies—movies like The Noah’s Ark Principle and Moon 44, showcases of resourceful production design and practical effects, meant in part as calling cards for Hollywood. The difference …

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