You know what is a good setting for a movie? A boarding school. Yes, a boarding school, an all-girls one to be exact. Then to take it to the next level you throw in a futuristic dystopian background and make said school sinister. This is the premise for the new film from writer/director Danishka Esterhazy Level 16. A small budget film that puts a strong emphasis on storytelling that’s sure to entertain you.
Level 16 takes place at the Vestails Academy where the girls are taught to be patient, clean, and obedient. They advance in levels and when completed the end goal is for them to be adopted out to a nice home. Now if the girls don’t act right they get a beating, or some other type of punishment. Vivien, the girl who we primarily focus on took a severe punishment when she was on Level 10. She’s moving up now, and when we get to Level 16 we learn a few more things. None of these girls can read or write. And the girls get a night time vitamin that’s actually a powerful sedative. Vivian and her new friend Sophia realize things are not what they seem and begin to look for truth.
Sunlight never comes through the building, there convinced that outside air is provisions, I mean its endless what they go through. The film runs a smooth 107min, and manages to hold your interest until the end. The story is slowly unfolded so you be will wondering how everything will turn out up until the final frame. Esterhazy does a tremendous job of pacing this film out. It moves slowly but never does it make you lose your interest. It’s amazing how he could take a small budget, combined with a very plain general setting and craft it into such an interesting film.
The film draws so many comparisons to the Island that’s its almost unfair, as this takes it to a different level. The amount of metaphors you can draw from Level 16 are astronomical. From Capitalism, to feminism, to BDSM, it’s all in there plus more. Being able to pull that off with a group of great, yet unknown actors is a feat in itself.
If you enjoy Futuristic films with a meaning, that are not heavily rooted in science fiction (yes that’s how out there this is) then this is for you. As that is not really a category how about we just say fans of something different and though provoking need to pick this one up.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!