FILM, L.A. WEEKLY January 24-30, 1986

Population: One is a no-holds-barred assault. Superficially the story of the last living survivor (Tomata du Plenty) of the great nuclear whatever, who's trapped in an underground bunker, it's actually a multilayered history of art, video, music and America's long lasting love affair with destruction. It's frenetic and ambitious as hell, full of erotic dream sequences, Magritte abstractions galore, multiple visual overlays and surreal musical numbers that are an eclectic combination of classical, old-fashioned jazz, modern punk and standard rock & roll. In striving to show us the ultimate bad trip, writer/director/composer Rene Daalder has created an intensely personal and overwhelmingly demented piece of work that's almost too strong to take in one sitting. There's a running monologue that's close to impossible to focus on, considering the constant barrage of cinematic mayhem. It certainly succeeds in capturing your attention, if not holding it throughout. If Frank Zappa and Hieronymus Bosch took angel dust together, I'm sure they'd come up with a bombastic nightmare like this. it's terrifying and indulgent, but if you don't mind getting clobbered, it's worth the trip. (Premiere screening to benefit PRO-Peace at the Four Star Theater, Wed., Jan.29, 8:30 p.m.) (Michael Dare)