After what is believed to have been a terrorist cyber-attack the United Kingdom is plunged into darkness for one week. Doesn't sound too bad you may think, but you’d be wrong. Humanity is an addict and when its supply is cut then it will bite and fight to get a fix; in this case the drug is electricity.
The story follows the experiences of several people and intersperses the story arcs with glimpses of other people’s stories and flash cards full of information.
These little snippets of information concern themselves with how our modern day existence works, all the cogs turning silently in the background. To put it simply; the smallest ripples in the system cause giant and devastating waves.
A lot of the footage shown in the 90 minutes that Blackout was on my television screen was made up of archive footage from the riots of 2011. It certainly added a level of realism to the whole affair but if you had been watching the news around the time of the riots then it works as more of a tool for nostalgia and you get a strange sensation of familiarity. You may even find yourself turning to whoever you're with and saying "Oh yeah, I remember that, do you?".
In our band of quasi-post-apocalypse-survivalism were two rough and ready men travelling to see their families, a single mother and her daughter trying to reach her diabetic mother, a brother and sister one of whom ends up in a coma and a family man who has prepared for the collapse of civilisation in some way. The main focus throughout was placed on the family man and the brother and sister, the latter being the most emotionally driven of it all whereas the fathers story seemed to be the home of all the morals of this merry little tale.
In having the story about different people it felt like they were casting the net as wide as they could so that every member of the audience had something they could relate to, this meant though that the individual plots were watered down, which is a shame since the main two plot lines were the most interesting.
The big problem with this is that the story was left feeling fractured and disjointed, at one point I thought they had actually introduced a new character or were doing a random sound bite, when in actual fact it was a part of the main story arc.
The music was annoying; to be quite honest it would have been better with silence hovering oppressively over the whole nightmarish event.
While it is a glimpse at a potential future, should we not get our energy issues sorted, it missed out on so much. An initially promising idea fell down on a lot of key points and it’s softly softly approach at sensationalist fear-mongering, in the end, fell limp. It bought completely into the nihilistic side of man, and while I generally prefer stories in that vein even I can concede that not every single person would lose their mind. It would have been interesting to see the whole thing handled in juxtaposition with a community that managed to pull together in the spirit of the Blitz, making for a lot more horror to the darker side that was focussed on.
It is very similar to the American show Revolution, but it’s not like America hasn’t ripped off anything we’ve ever done is it?
On the outset it was an enjoyable little romp through mankind’s bleak nature and at least it offered some potentially unknown information. However, when you peel away it was shallow and pulled a lot of punches making it worth only one watch. So my advice is: Give it a watch if only to enjoy a safe glimpse of the future that awaits us.
Overall I give Blackout:
M. C. Maw.