Some of my favorite movies, other than sci-fi, are dystopian/post-apocalyptic movies. Some of my favorite include The Book of Eli and The Road.
Now comes Embers with a premise I wish I'd thought of. Instead of a virus turning people into creatures, etc., it has erased people's memories and affected their brains to the point where their current memories only last a few hours. They cannot recall the past, nor can they exist in any other moment except the Right Here And Now.
This film follows several different characters, and how this inability to think back or ahead becomes their complete future. We see the lovers, who wake up every morning asking each other, "Who are you?" We see the little boy wandering through the crumbling city. We see the angry young man working out his aggression on everything and everyone. We see the brilliant scientist reading his tome over and over, unable to understand what he wrote minutes after he reads it. And we see a young woman who's being kept almost a prisoner inside a deep, underground bunker, to protect her from breathing the air where the virus is still prevalent.
This is a slow-paced film, and it has many scenes that are thought-provoking. There is violence, but the overall feeling is that there is no hope for humanity. Eventually everyone will die because no one knows how to feed themselves beyond scavenging and looting amid the decaying buildings.
Yes, this movie is a downer. There is no miraculous "cure". We feel sorry for these people, and we are rewarded with one lone upbeat moment. But otherwise there is no hope for mankind surviving many more years.
Although I rented and watched this film over a week ago, it continues to stick with me. That in itself is why I give this movie 4/5 stars.