1997. Fall. Just looking for a little down time, I stroll alone into a small arthouse movie theater in the Castro district of San Francisco. I’m not intent on seeing a specific film and select a documentary called Waco: The Rules of Engagement (probably due to a convenient start time). Roughly two hours later, I leave the theater literally sobbing, my heart feeling violently cleaved in two by what I could only describe later as a loss of innocence. For the first time in my life, I became genuinely suicidal, my mind swimming with a furious tempest of questions and doubts and frustrations, uncertain whether I could foresee myself willingly participating in a society so cruel, so senseless, so (for lack of a better word) evil.
Rarely does a film come along that offers equal parts full-throttle bravado, tender-hearted sentimentality, and rich grist for the philosophical mill, but this is exactly what Neill Blomkamp (Elysium, District 9) achieves in his latest contribution to the science-fiction milieu of robotics. I’m not a film critic, so I’m not going to write this article as if I were one, yet I will say this: CHAPPiE is brilliant.