"Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth."The Quiet Earth
was a film created in New Zealand
and directed by Geoff Murphy, starring Bruno Lawrence as a scientist who awakens in a hotel room to find himself the last man on Earth.
The film was originally based on a novel by Craig Harrison, but bears very little resemblance to the novel's plot. While the film was marketed as a film about the last man in the world, the trailers did a good job of spoiling that particular plot point.
The Quiet Tropes:
- Love Triangle: Between Api, Joanne and Zac. They are the only known people left on Earth, so it's not surprising.
- Male Frontal Nudity: Zac in the beginning while committing suicide, something the audience doesn't learn til later in the film.
- Minimalist Cast: The credits list a whopping six actors for the entire movie. Half of those only appear in brief flashbacks or recordings.
- My Greatest Failure: Zac feels responsible for the results of Project Flashlight, because he didn't challenge data that he felt was incomplete and chose to try to kill himself instead. It's unclear whether or not he could have made a difference if he had spoken up. Still, he spends much of the second half of the film trying to track the effect and find a way to prevent a second one.
- Naked Apron: When Joanne serves Zac in the hotel.
- New Era Speech: A passionate and teary example is made by Zac Hobson - resplendent in his chemise - from the balcony of his new mansion to an audience of cardboard cutouts and a combined background music/applause track.
- No Name Given: Only Zac Hobson is given a surname. There are a handful of other named characters (Joanne and Api, as well as a corpse named Perrin that Zac holds a brief, one-sided conversation with) whose last names are never given in the film.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Zac bursts into a church screaming, "If you don't come out, I'll shoot the kid!" The kid being a life-sized crucifix.
- Red Herring: The film sets up for a similar plot to The World, the Flesh and the Devil (in which two men fight over the affections of the last living woman), but the romance between Joanne and Api is allowed unabated.
- Reset Button: Zac does his Heroic Sacrifice thinking there's a chance everything will be returned to normal and the population restored from whatever dimension they might or might not have been sent to. The film never says whether it worked or not.
- Sanity Slippage: The first third of the film shows Zac's slow descent into madness.
- Scenery Porn: The countryside is almost a character in itself.
- Scenery Gorn: There are quite a few scenes of the destruction that would be caused by the disappearance of mankind as well, including an airplane crash.
- Society Marches On: In the early 80's, Australians were having a lot of issues with the United States, which is why the US is the Big Bad responsible for everything that happens in the film.
- Sole Surviving Scientist: Zac Hobson, a scientist who was working on Project Flashlight. A malfunction caused almost everyone on Earth to simply disappear. He goes a little crazy in the first part of the movie, but after meeting two other survivors he tries to destroy the laboratory where the experiment took place so it can't happen again.
- Survivors Guilt: Zac gets this in spades. Api and Joanne as well, although not nearly as much.
- Token Minority: Considering the film's premise, Api may well be the only Maori (or non-white person period, for that matter) left in the world.
- Title Drop: During Zac's crazed speech at the cutouts of political figures.