Wednesday, January 19, 2011


(Full disclosure time, folks.  My friend edited this film.  Now you know so don't think I have some personal bias for loving this film.  Its a great movie.  Would I lie?  You probably shouldn't answer that question.)

EISIS is about a man named Eisis.  He is part of a four man special forces recon group sent in to some country to investigate the possibility of a Russian presence.  While on recon the entire team is wiped out by a mine.  Only Eisis survives.  On his own the soldier must survive his wounds, hide from a Russian Captain and his men and wait for extraction.  Eventually he befriends a lady shaman who helps him while he continues his mission.

To start things off this isn't an action movie.  It is an art film.  It just happens to be a badass art film.  There is weaponized military might mixed with nature and eastern religious beliefs.   You can tell there are some brains behind the camera.  This is a well directed movie and very colorful.  Its a low budget movie but it never feels that way.  I love the night scene where the special forces have just parachuted in and everything is in green nightvision.  It was filmed in the day with a green filter to make it nightvision.  It allows us to see what the soldier sees in their world.  Its highly imaginative.  The entire movie takes place in the woods.  Most movies would become tedious and boring but not EISIS.  Watching our hero survive in the wild with his military training while the lady shaman helps him and eventually befriends him is compelling.  You are not quite sure where the story is going or how these two are going to work together because they come from two different worlds.  Its an unpredictable film to say the least.

If you watch the world premier feature on the extras DVD you learn that the story and imagery in this film has a specific meaning to the director but he purposely leaves the explanations of what your are seeing vague so you can come up with your own interpretation.  That's kind of neat.  At one point Eisis has a dream about a fallen viking also named Eisis.  Maybe he's an ancestor and his strength is carried on in generation after generation.  I have no idea what that means except both characters are wounded and must continue to fight.  They don't really follow that up with more dream sequences to parallel with the story.  It almost seems out of place but it still works.  The only time it is referenced again is near the end when Eisis is running to save the day and a brief flash of a viking shield and spear (or sword) appears.  The lady shaman has a vision of a tree coming to life and walk past her.  Its a great special effect.  Maybe these kinds of "out of left field" moments may be off putting to those who seek a more action extreme in this film because it deals with the military.  It is risky to put originality in one's work nowadays. 

I guess maybe my only complaints are that EISIS is a little slow in the middle.  It takes a long time for our two main characters to come together and help each other out.  But its never boring.  Let the movie take its time.  The visuals, direction, and concepts presented in the film keeps your mind occupied seeking deeper meanings.  Also the Russian Captain is surprisingly a very interesting character. I would have liked to have had the film explain what his impact on the locals would be if he succeeded in his mission.  That would add a bigger sense of accomplishment in the success of Eisis's mission.

This is a very exciting piece of work.  According to the director the film goes for authenticity.  So a lot of what you see from the soldiers and their practices to the shaman and her rituals are real.  This is a labor of love.  It is evident from every camera shot, piece of music, sound effect and bizzare imagery that there was a lot of thought put into EISIS.  You are not watching another RAMBO clone or something.  EISIS was made to make you think.  It has been a couple of days since I bought it and I still keep going back in my mind thinking of what I saw in this movie.  I plan on watching it again very soon just to see if I get more out of it from a second viewing.  I bought this film simply because my friend had a hand in putting it together.  What I found was a small masterpiece of filmmaking. 

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