You can sometimes find the strangest stuff of Netflix. And, if you’re like me and you try to review every single thing that you see, you can end up reviewing the strange stuff that you end up watching on Netflix.
For example: Rumors of Wars.
According to the imdb, Rumors of Wars had a theatrical release in May of this year but I had never heard of it until I happened to come across it on Netflix. Earlier this week, I did a search on “2014 films,” and my natural hope was that the search would return results like The Grand Budapest Hotel and maybe a James Franco film or two.
Instead, I got Rumors of Wars.
Rumors of Wars is one of the many dystopian films that have come out this year. For whatever reason, a lot of filmmakers have shared this vision of the future this year and none of them seem to be very optimistic.
In Rumors of Wars, the future is represented by bombed out cities, black-clad soldiers, and frightened refugees being rounded up and shot. The soldiers work for a man named Zurn and they’re quick to say that their mission is to “unify the world in peace and harmony.” When one refugee is spotted to be wearing a cross, a soldier sneers, “The only thing this symbolizes is your primitive thinking!” Another refugee, when confronted by the approaching soldiers, says, “Time to join the one world government!”
Can you guess where this is going?
While the rest of the soldiers are busy burning books and watching a hologram of a blonde with big boobs telling them to keep fighting for the glory of Zurn, Shaw (Ben Davies) secretly reads a diary that he came across during an earlier refugee roundup.
The diary was written, in the days before the one world government, by a college student named Roxy (Jennifer Cooper). Roxy writes about how, following a series of terrorist attacks that the film suggests were all “false flag” operations, the government decrees that everyone should have a microchip inserted into their hand. The microchip will allow the government to both regulate what people eat and keep track of all of America’s gun owners. However, since the microchip also allows people to get discounts on otherwise expensive commodities like food and gasoline, the populace willingly gives up their freedom.
The microchips, incidentally, are made by the Zurn Corporation. And who is in charge of the Zurn Corporation? Mr. Zurn, of course!
And, of course, Mr. Zurn is played by Eric Roberts.
Now, Eric Roberts is only on-screen for about two minutes but he makes the best of those two minutes. Seriously, Roberts gives a performance that is so manic and so over-the-top and so extremely weird that it might be the best performance of his career. Certainly, it livens up the movie.
(Of course, it helps that Roberts spends the length of his screen time telling a weird story about picking up a calf.)
Anyway, the film alternates between Roxy in the near future and Shaw in the far future and, for an independent, low-budget, right-wing, evangelical movie, it’s actually surprisingly competent. This is nothing like Left Behind. Rumors of Wars can actually pass for a real movie.
Now, I know what you’re asking — just how preachy does this movie get? By the standards of the genre, it’s actually less preachy than most but still preachy enough that it’ll probably annoy militant nonbelievers. (As for us casual skeptics, it all depends on just how casual you really are.) In my case, I was able to tolerate the film’s preachy moments because I appreciated all of the anti-government propaganda and the over-the-top atmosphere of paranoia.
So, that was the latest strange thing that I saw on Netflix. Rumors of Wars. Was it great? No. But it wasn’t terrible and that’s probably the biggest shock of all.