T-Minus 75 is a Cautionary Warning Wrapped in Action Film Excellence
For most actors, their career is not something you do for fame or money (though these aren’t unwelcome accoutrements) but rather a way of life. For every big budget production that successful actors are a part of, there are numerous others that gain the respect and acknowledgement of those within the industry even though they may not attain multimillion dollar dividends. When Director/Writer Mikeadelica reached out to Rojan Telo about auditioning for an adventurous film he wanted to make, it was the unusual components of the project that intrigued the actor. A feature film about the impending annihilation of the world without any spoken dialogue; that seemed unique, a little crazy, and thrilling to be a part of manifesting. Rojan was confirmed for the cast and it wasn’t long before he was joined by famed Swedish film stars Lisa Henni, Henrik Lundström, and Ola Rapace (Patrice in the Oscar winning 007 film Skyfall and star of the Netflix hit series The Last Kingdom). With such a tremendous cast and interesting approach to this film, T-Minus 75 is likely to be the type of film that sets a benchmark this year that few others will come close to.
The similarities this film has to modern day America are undeniable. Two factions, one embracing military might and the other vehemently opposed to weapons, has resulted in the mutual launch of nuclear weapons that will end society as we know it, maybe even end all life as we know it. One soldier named Alex [Ola Rapace] is trapped in a desolate location with the remaining seventy-five minutes of his existence to ponder his life before this nuclear holocaust ends his existence. The film appropriates the age old idea of one seeing their life flash before their eyes as they die, but does so in an anticipatory fashion that allows Alex to suffer in pondering the truth of the decisions he has made. Samir (Rojan Telo) holds some secrets himself, of perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the film presents him in different ways until the truth about him surfaces. To lay a foundational history (one that is unspoken during the film), Rojan approached his costar Ola Rapace with an idea of the bond their characters share. He reveals, “My thought was that both of our characters had grown up together and knew each other almost their whole lives, they were best friends. They went to the clubs together, did crazy stuff together, and so on. Then everything changed when the politics of the world escalated. Alex [Ola R] chose to go with the group of violent people while Samir chose the more peaceful side. My analogy was that we had been best friends and that one of us chose to vote for Trump while the other voted for Bernie Sanders. I thought that the characters should possess that kind of deeply instilled opposition even though they’d once been so close. Ola fully agreed with me and said that he was thinking the same.”
One of the most important scenes of the film takes place between Alex and Samir in an ultimate act of betrayal. What occurs effects the two men for the rest of their lives. The filming location was as arduous to attain as it was beautiful. Shot in northern Norway, the cast and crew literally had to scale a mountain every morning to get to the set (equipment was helicoptered in with the one remaining helicopter not being rented by none other than Tom Cruise for his cast and crew for the most recent Mission Impossible film). Samir recalls, “Honestly every day was really challenging. Every morning we woke up at 6 AM and had to drive for 30 minutes at least and then climb up a mountain for about 30 more minutes to get up to the set, all while it was raining. The view and all was great but once you got up there you had to rest for a while and get into costume and the right state of mind, which was really hard because it was quite cold even though we were in a tent.” That intensity shows in the dynamic between Samir and Alex. These characters serve as proxies for those in the world who are divided by political ideologies but who in fact share much more than they pause to consider, which is the point of Alex’s mental voyage in T-Minus 75. It’s an action film with some very relevant and important ideas to ponder…as well as being a thrilling story.