The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic future where speech and “bred” are limited and in “lections” you either “vot” or die. The film opens strongly with the ending of one of the “lections” the also-ran asking for mercy and the winner denying and brutally killing him. The story then goes to 25 years into the future, where the world is even darker. The have-nots stand in line waiting for the limited bread to be given to them by those in charge. These modern bread-lines are the catalyst for change as the have-nots use bread as a symbol to demand more freedom. The film is slow paced but it has the cadence of an actual election; the candidates are chosen, the campaigning begins, and then election night, someone is chosen and the campaign promises start to break down.
Director David Axe creates a future that is bleak. The characters are barely literate (“bred”, “vot”, and, of course, “lection”) and words are just as precious a commodity as the “bred” for which they fight. The world is almost completely silent; the colors are muted and the dialogue is sparse. The score of the film is powerful, with strong tribal drum beats leading the way; unfortunately, it becomes repetitive and overpowering when it plays over top of the limited dialogue. It would have been better if the score was limited or omitted during scenes with speaking as the limited words were chosen for impact but they lose that impact when it is difficult to hear.
The characters do not feel fully developed but those that are featured are well-acted. Bradley J. Petit’s character had a swagger almost like The Walking Dead’s Negan minus the quips. Sanethia Dresch’s Dot showed a quiet determination, while Mike Amason’s Mayor was played with a near silent intensity.
The film does a great job in not taking sides in modern American political parties and there does not seem to be an agenda other than what could be seen as brutality and nihilism when we take an “us versus them” mentality, especially when there are limited resources and options.