New Life

She’s traumatised and confused, trying to make her way home unseen, the streets in the early hours fortunately deserted so no one can see the blood on her face, not her own, swiftly washed off when she arrives to grab what she can carry then making her way out of town and cross-country by foot, doing her best to stay-off grid, to leave no physical or digital trail, trying to escape…

The name of the young woman on the run is Jessica Murdock, and assigned to bring her in is Elsa Gray, armed and capable, receiving an unexpected visit from her old handler Raymond Reed who tells her that in only thirty-six hours the case has already spiralled out of control, giving scant background detail but saying that on no account can the subject reach the border…

Written and directed by John Rosman, New Life is about two women at different crossroads in their lives, victims of circumstances beyond their control, Elsa (For All Mankind’s Sonya Walger) suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with noticeable degeneration in her motor functions only six months after diagnosis, and Jessica (General Hospital’s Hayley Erin) having been forced to abandon everything in fear of her life.

Unaware that she is an asymptomatic carrier of the bioengineered disease contracted on a camping trip which killed her boyfriend Ian (Animal Kingdom’s Nick George) and everyone she has come into contact with since, an elderly couple at the farmhouse where she sought shelter who welcomed her with kindness, the barmaid who offered her a job and a place to stay, what should be a tense thriller, a tragedy of no right choices or easy answers, also suffers from a case of terminal incredulity.

Raymond (Annabelle’s Tony Amendola) aware of Elsa’s condition, regarding her as damaged goods and so expendable, in what way is the risk of exposure to the sinister pharmaceutical company Adiengen minimised by sending an incapacitated agent who is less likely to accomplish her task? Furthermore, would it not also have been prudent to inform said agent of the as-yet uncertain but obviously highly contagious nature of the infection rather than having her blunder in and possibly spread it further through misunderstanding?

Splicing contagion paranoia and conspiracy theories with moments of viral zombie madness rather than nuance, why Jessica must be intercepted before the border is unclear as neither the disease nor corrupt corporation Adiengen are likely to be dissuaded by a line on a map, and with so little thought behind the script it is entirely in the performances that New Life can grow, but although both leads are excellent Erin’s character has little agency or progression and Walger is asked to do nothing more than reprise Molly Cobb, determined pilot turned NASA astronaut forced to adapt to her limitations as her vision fails.

New Life will be available on digital download from Monday 3rd June



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