On paper, Werner Herzog’s latest feature film sounds like a big-budget action flick a la The Day After Tomorrow: Veronica Ferres and Gael Garcia Bernal play two ecologists sent to South America as part of a U.N. investigation into an eco-disaster. They’re quickly kidnapped by Michael Shannon’s villainous CEO and forced to grapple with the existence of a supervolcano that could destroy the entire planet. It’s one Pierce Brosnan cameo away from being Dante’s Peak. But in practice, however, Salt And Fire’s international trailer promises something a little more philosophical than megaplex disaster porn.
“There is no reality,” Shannon’s character explains in the trailer’s opening moments. “There are only views of reality, only perceptions.” And while the trailer does feature a few shots of a distant volcano, it’s equally focused on demonic imagery and religious subtext. “Is it possible that there is something all-pervading around us which we are incapable of seeing?” Shannon asks before quoting Ecclesiastes 12:1. That’s a pretty far cry from the classic disaster movie image of a beleaguered scientist shouting, “Mr. President, if we don’t act now, it’s going to be too late!”
Though the film did play at the Toronto International Film Festival, our own A.A. Dowd didn’t get a chance to see it because—as he put it—“I heard almost nothing but bad things about [it].” Those more curious about Herzog’s volcanic vision will have to wait until sometime in 2017, as Salt And Fire has no official U.S. release date yet.