Burton Bowen’s Keep Moving offers a new take on the old survival of the fittest in a post-apocalyptic world phenomenon. Fifteen minutes of your time and an open mind is all the filmmaker asks.
Keep Moving opens at what’s left of a house, somewhere in London. Stanley and an old man are the last of a group, the others having left and presumably dead. The old man asks Stanley to join him in search of the others, but Stanley chooses to remain at the house. It is then that the old man gives Stanley his gun and then departs.
After a day or so, a crazed mystery man appears at the house and, while Stanley sleeps, he takes Stanley’s gun. When Stanley awakens, the gun is pointed at him and Stanley’s last drop of water and meager supplies are confiscated. Under the guise of journeying with Stanley, the mystery man comes upon a car with the doors open. He drives off in the car leaving the angry Stanley behind. What happens next is as predictable as any of the other tales of this genre—with a little dubious twist of its own.
Keep Moving calls to mind such novel masterpieces as Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, published in 1826, and Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance, written in 1951 (and published after his death in 1972). The pulp sci-fi market in television and film speaks for itself. What keeps these stories going at a consistent rate is curiosity about how the world began and where it will end. And since no one can provide clear-cut answers, these tales of ennui and wonder are sure to continue throughout infinity.
What makes Bowen’s film work is that he’s a master storyteller and everything he asks us to believe, no matter how far fetched and removed from linear existence, we regard as truth. What’s also interesting is Bowen’s use of minimal dialogue that still manages to say everything; this modern movie feels like a silent film. Silence, complete with one penetrating inter-title that throws a monkey wrench into our belief that we control our own destiny.
Since Bowen’s movie ends as quickly as it begins, we never really know if Stanley is a biblical pioneering type with only good on his mind, or someone or something at the other end of the spectrum. As for Stanley’s few followers, most of whom are left en route, waiting for his return—you be the judge.
Keep Moving is strongly recommended.
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