By Tim Merrill | January 21, 2004

A sci-fi thriller of uncommon creepiness, “One Point 0” makes inventive use of a low budget, and clever story and a terrific cast. It may also position the directing team of Jeff Renfroe and Matreinn Thorsson as The Next Wachowskis (now that the originals have presumably been put out to pasture for a while). If you’ve ever felt that corporate advertising is so pervasive these days as to actually be inside your head, then this is the flick for you.

The always-excellent Jeremy Sisto plays Simon J, a withdrawn computer programmer who rarely leaves his dank, high-ceilinged old apartment building (the film was shot mainly in Bucharest, and its atmosphere reeks in the best way). But Simon begins to emerge from his geekoid shell when he finds a cardboard box sitting inside his door, opens it, and finds it empty. Then another. And another. The building’s denizens, including Udo Kier (always welcome) as a very strange inventor and Lance Henriksen (his liveliest performance in ages) as the resident handyman, know nothing about these odd deliveries. The requisite mystery woman (sultry, moody Deborah Kara Unger) may hold the clue, or may not.

But as the story tightens and the paranoia escalates, the one thing that will keep playing through the viewer’s mind is “Don’t drink the milk!” Suffice it to say that whatever nameless, faceless corporation is sunning the show in the world of “One Point 0,” they’ve found a nanorrific new way to hook you on your favorite product, be it Nature Fresh milk, Cola 500 pop or Farm Cut meat. And Sisto’s increasing desperation to look without for an answer gives the film its dramatic soul; problem is, the answer is a lot closer that he thinks.

“One Point 0” certainly wins few points for originality, but it’s the sources that matter. This rocking melange of “The Matrix,” “The Game,” “Brazil” and Philip K. Dick at his most cynical is one of the strongest works of true sci-fi to come along in years. You’ll never look at a carton of milk the same way again…

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