The Blackout (2019)


Introduction

The Blackout (Russian: Аванпост, romanised: Avanpost, lit. ’Outpost’) is a 2019 Russian science fiction action thriller film directed by Egor Baranov and starring Pyotr Fyodorov.

The film is about an event that suddenly plunges the entire world into darkness, rapidly destroying life on Earth except for a small area in Eastern Europe.

Also known as The Blackout: Invasion Earth (UK alternative title).

Outline

Prologue

When an alarm is triggered at the “Outpost” military base, soldiers take up positions and prepare for battle. It is reported that an unidentified enemy is approaching, creatures larger than humans moving at a speed of twenty kilometres per hour.

A Month Earlier

24 days before the events of the Prologue, serviceman Oleg has a date with Alena. Later they go back to his place. Suddenly the entire world, except for the area around Moscow, and parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Finland is plunged into darkness. The fate of billions is unknown. Communications are down throughout the rest of the world, and only a small number of people have survived in the area that becomes known as the Circle of Life. A defensive perimeter is established and reconnaissance groups are sent out but do not return. They find that there was an attack on Earth, leaving unknown numbers dead. To defend against the mysterious enemy, the humans mobilise an army, and outposts are built. After leaving the Circle of Life to conduct a reconnaissance operation, a squad sweeps the dead cities outside and a soldier is attacked and wounded, The other soldiers try to shoot the stranger, but he escapes.

Outpost Protection

The action goes back to the prologue. While preparing for an unknown enemy, electricity is turned off and the outpost is plunged into darkness. After being informed that creatures bigger than humans are emerging from the forest at 20 km per hour, they begin to fire, while discovering that the enemy is in fact a massive herd of brown bears. The next morning, not all soldiers had survived. Among the survivors is Oleg, whose leg was injured. In Moscow it is revealed some survivors from the edge of the Quarantine zone now have “abilities”, one of these people Sasha appears to have a psychic connection to the unknown attackers. A strange figure calling himself Eid comes to the patient Sasha and asks for his help, since Sasha’s Psychic link can locate Eid’s brother Ra, who is behind all this. Four soldiers, led by Marina, train their weapons at Eid, but the latter, with the help of supernormal abilities, turns the soldiers weapons at Marina and suggests that he explain everything to them if they save his life. During interrogation, Eid explains that he is an alien from a distant star system that has long died out. They want to move to Earth, because in their constellation the star “Sun” is still young and will live long enough, Ra is behind all this, although before that Eid thought he was the only one on Earth. He arrived on Earth another two hundred thousand years ago, which means that according to his calculations, the ship with their army will be here tomorrow. The problem is that he does not know where Ra is hiding, which controls the minds of ordinary people outside the “circle of life” but the only one who knows where to find him is Sasha. Eid penetrates Sasha’s head, and he finds out that Ra is on the roof of a skyscraper in Kirov. At that moment Ra himself looked at Sasha and realised that he had been found. Eid decided to leave Sasha at the outpost, and Ra at that time ordered people to launch a missile attack at the outpost. However, Eid with Zhenya and the rest of the soldiers, led by Mary, remain alive, as they had left the base to find Ra.

Losses

At this time, Jura joins the satellite-9 group of the outpost and in the middle of the night finds a defenceless teenager in one of the apartments. However, he merely pretended to be shy and took away a knife from one of the soldiers, killing him. A whole crowd of people begins to attack the group under the control of Ra and only Jura and Olya remain alive. They hijack one of the abandoned cars and drive back to the outpost. On the way, they meet the surviving outpost soldiers led by Marina and Major Dovlatov, from whom they learn that the outpost was destroyed by a massive missile strike. Eid explains that if Zhenya went with them, Ra would have killed them otherwise, and the outpost would have left him alone. Gathered together, they go back to Kirov, encountering a crowd of people under the control of Ra, fight through a skyscraper, climb the roof and find Ra. Eid and Ra Engage in battle and eventually Eid tears a device from Ra’s chest, Allowing Yura to thrust a grenade into Ra’s chest. All the people who were under the control of Ra again and again all die and fall to the ground. Only Yura, Oleg, Marina, Olya, Alena, Eid and Lavrin remain alive. Eid explains that this number of people is enough to be reborn again, as people will be able to breed and give birth to many new children. Oleg is furious trying to kill Eid, but Yura stands up for the alien, knocks Oleg to the floor and beats him while Olya shoots him. The survivors do not believe Eid and try to kill him, but with the help of superpowers, he deceives them in every way and makes them kill each other. At the last moment, Lavrin betrays Eid and throws him along with himself from the roof, dying with him in the fall.

Invasion

An alien ship descends from the sky, next to a skyscraper, and a hatch opens. However, the aliens for some reason do not go out. Alena, Olya and Oleg decide to enter the alien ship while the injured Yura shouts in their backs “We will die all the same!” Entering the ship, they find out that all the aliens are still sleeping in cryocapsules and have not woken up. Countdown timers turn on at cryocapsules, and the three main characters decide to break the pipes for oxygen supply, thereby killing them in the capsules themselves, leaving them to die without oxygen. When it remains to destroy the last tube, it turns out that it delivers oxygen to the capsules with the aliens’ children, and they decide not to break it. The capsule timers reach zero, the capsules open, and alien children crawl out of their capsules. They see three representatives of planet Earth in front of them. The latter voluntarily throw their weapons on the floor in front of their eyes, proving that they will not harm them.

Cast

  • Ksenia Kutepova as Osmolovskaya.
  • Svetlana Ivanova as Olya.
  • Pyotr Fyodorov as Yura.
  • Konstantin Lavronenko as Mayor Dolmatov.
  • Aleksey Chadov as Oleg.
  • Lukerya Ilyashenko as Alena.
  • Filipp Avdeyev as Zhenya.
  • Ilya Volkov as Ra.
  • Artyom Tkachenko as Eid.
  • Sergey Godin as Lavrin.
  • Ksenia Kutepova as Marina.
  • Anastasiya Venkova.
  • Aleksandr Nedorezov as Spetsnazovets.
  • Angelina Strechina as Katia.

Production

Initially, the film was conceived as a series, but the creators had only the script of the first series. When this series was filmed, Egor Baranov made some changes to the history. After the first series was shot, it became clear that the changes in the script slightly change the intonation and direction of the plot. After that, it was decided to move the script in a slightly different direction. Baranov claims that his film is more anti-war, since he did not try to show the strength of the military, in contrast to films like Transformers and Top Gun. In the film, about 70% of the total timing is done using computer graphics.

Filming

According to Baranov, they worked on the filming of the full film for about six months, and sometimes about a year. On the set of the film, real soldiers with the latest military equipment were involved, who agreed to star in this film, offering only small tips and advice for scenes with their participation. At the same time, the military themselves did not interfere in the script of the film. Filming was completed in May 2019.

Music

Released as a part of the film’s official soundtrack, the song “fine” was released by American musician Mike Shinoda on 31 October 2019. Shinoda has also released a music video for the song on 3 December, which includes scenes from the film.

Release

The film had its world premiere at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in San Jose, California, on 15 March 2019. Its release in Russia took place on 21 November 2019, and on 26 November it was announced that the film would also be released in the USA and in two dozen other foreign countries. It was released on VOD as The Blackout: Invasion Earth by Shout! Factory on 29 May 2020.

Marketing

The film was presented by Premier Studios at Comic-Con Russia 2019 along with the film Caramora and the film adaptation of Metro 2033. The Blackout is the only film from Russia included in the programme of the American festival Cinequest, combining cinema and high technology. On 20 August 2019, Mir Fantastiki magazine acted as the media partner of this film. On 23 October 2019, the filmmakers, together with Premier Studios, together with MY.GAMES launched the Warface Special Invitational Season 2: Outpost tournament, which combines the world of Warface with this film.

Box Office

The Blackout grossed $0 in North America and $2.8 million worldwide, against a production budget of about $4 million.

Home Rentals

In the first week of rental, the film was able to collect only about 100 million rubles (≃$1.3 million) by the end of the weekend. By late November, early December, fees amounted to about 144 million rubles.

Video Game

On 07 November 2019, a browser game was launched, the main feature of which is integration with Google Maps. In the application window, the user can enter any address (or simply indicate the city) and see how his native streets will change in the ensuing post-apocalypse in the universe of this film. Also in the game there will be elements of a shooter, since the main task in the game will be cleaning the streets from aliens.

Sequel

It was announced that the studio plans to continue with a dilogy, the second part of which is due out 09 May 2020, but instead it was decided to show in October 2020 a 6-episode TV version on TV-3 channel.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Egor Baranov.
  • Producer(s):
    • Maxim Abramov … postproduction producer.
    • Valeriy Fedorovich … producer.
    • Maksim Filatov … executive producer.
    • Igor Finoshkin … line producer.
    • Alexander Fomin … creative producer.
    • Ivan Golomovzyuk … producer.
    • Galina Kadantseva … executive producer.
    • Olga Kurenkova … lead producer.
    • Evgeniy Nikishov … producer.
    • Vladimir Permyakov … postproduction producer.
    • Olga Raevich … line producer.
    • Pavel Romanskiy … executive producer.
    • Lily Sherozia … postproduction producer.
    • Arsen Simonyan … line producer.
    • Galina Strizhevskaya … executive producer.
    • Aleksandr Sysoev … creative producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Ilya Kulikov.
  • Music:
    • Ryan Otter … composer.
  • Cinematography:
    • Yuriy Korobeynikov.
    • Sergey Trofimov.
  • Editor(s):
    • Aleksandr Ivanov.
    • Igor Otdelnov.
  • Production:
    • 1-2-3 Production.
    • TNT-Premier.
    • TV3.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Albatros Film (2020) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • Karoprokat (2019) (Russia) (theatrical).
    • Kinostar Filmverleih (2019) (Germany) (theatrical).
    • 4Digital Media (2020) (UK) (Blu-ray).
    • 4Digital Media (2020) (UK) (DVD).
    • Noble Entertainment (2020) (Sweden) (DVD).
    • Shout! Factory (2020) (USA) (Blu-ray).
    • Shout! Factory (2020) (USA) (DVD).
    • Splendid Film (2020) (Germany) (Blu-ray).
    • Splendid Film (2020) (Germany) (DVD).
    • TV3 (2019) (Russia) (TV).
    • Tiger House (2021) (Non-US) (video).
    • Umbrella Entertainment (2020) (Australia) (all media).
  • Release Date: 15 March 2019 (Cinquest, San Jose) and 21 November 2019 (Russia).
  • Running time: 127 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: Russia.
  • Language: Russian and English (subtitles).

Video Link

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