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Prospect - Sci Fi Feature - Comparisons to Moon

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This gained some buzz back when it was shown at a few films festivals, with comparisons to the like of Moon and similar other pictures.

 

Stars Pedro Pascal - it's out to stream from today from what I can tell.

 

A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote alien moon| aiming to strike it rich. They've secured a contract to harvest a large deposit of the elusive gems hidden in the depths of the moon's toxic forest. But there are others roving the wilderness and the job quickly devolves into a fight to survive. Forced to contend not only with the forest's other ruthless inhabitants| but with her own father's greed-addled judgement| the girl finds she must carve her own path to escape

 

Trailer seems very spoiler heavy so might be worth giving it a miss - here it is anyway 

 

 

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Saw this last night. Absolutely loved it. The best indie sci-fi film I've seen in a long time. Really atmospheric, great world building and very good performances from both of the leads.

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Justwatch is a good app to search where you can stream/rent/buy shows & films.

 

It says not available to stream yet.

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No idea. It said streaming services on the Rotten Tomatoes movie info. So I assume rental streams like Google Play and Rakuten TV

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8 minutes ago, Pob said:

Streaming to where?

Apparently streaming on something called Breaker.

 

No, I never heard of it either. I don't know if it even covers outside the US.

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I really don't like this fragmenting of streaming services. If you want to make sure your indie film gets people watching and promoting your work you have to make it widely available not stuck on some obscure platform no-one's heard of. Unless that platform fronted the cash I guess.

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This film is special.

 

Do not watch the trailer. You want to go in to this cold. The trailer doesn't really spoil much, but it spoils enough.

 

Back to what I was saying though. This film is special.  I already feel guilty about yarring it and will happily go and see it in the cinema if it is released. Hell, I'll even buy two tickets to make up for it. It's the kind of film that makes me want to come straight on to rllmuk and post about it right after I've finished watching. I don't think that's happened for quite possibly a decade. That's how often I recommend a film guys. About once a decade. Turns out, this is the one. And it's a sci-fi film!

 

Prospect does almost everything right. And the bits it does get right, it just completely fucking nails.  From a film making perspective and a story telling one. There are a couple of minor flaws but the rest of it is just so goddamn good that they fall away in to complete irrelevance. It's hard to know where to start with the praise. You can see the love that has been poured in to it.

 

The rest of this isn't really spoilers, I don't talk about the plot, but I'll put it in spoilers anyway.

 


 

Spoiler

 

It does the basics right. It sets the rules of its world, and follows them. The plot is simple, focused, knows where it's going, and most importantly, where it wants to take you. The story is character driven and the characters are relatable, sympathetic and engaging. That gives it the licence to allude to elements of a wider world without it feeling forced or trite, because the world it has created is so real. And because the world is so well realised, it is capable of being both obvious and surprising. The times you don't know what's going to happen are always used to increase the tension in the film in believable ways, which means that the times that the main beats of the plot reach their inevitable conclusions, knowing what's going to happen doesn't matter, you just want to know how it happens.

 

And the atmosphere they have created is just amazing. It constantly looks and sounds spectacular. What they've managed to do with a few light filters, some cgi dust motes and some brilliant costume and set design on the budget they had is actually a marvel. The direction is solid, but could be better. Some of the editing is a little sloppy at times, but other than that it's hard to find much fault in the technical side of things. 

 

The acting, especially from the two leads, is downright fantastic. Pedro Pascal is just immense. He has a great character to work with, but he plays the part so well that throughout the film you find yourself loving him and hating him, willing him to succeed and fail at the same time, wanting to trust him completely yet knowing that part of you will never be able to trust him at all. I'll also be incredibly surprised if Sophie Thatcher doesn't go on to have a fantastic career. She really makes you root for her and sells the decisions the character has to make. It's also always great to see Bubbles.

 

Even with all that, like all of the great sci-fi films, it explores aspects of morality, ethics, politics and society by holding up a mirror and asking us if we like what we see. The film is at times incredibly nihilistic, asking questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and if it will ever change. Yet it is also cautiously optimistic, exploring the limits of belonging, forgiveness and redemption. In the face of actions that society theoretically deems unforgivable and irredeemable, it urges an approach that is nuanced and subtle, then takes that nuance and subtlety and bludgeons you in the face with it. And a lot of these aspects I've touched I'm only talking about because of what they don't tell you. There is a theory in storytelling called 'the theory of omission' and if you're familiar with it, then you'll understand what I mean when I say that they really do show the exact right amount of the iceberg.

 

 

The next bit is real actual spoilers, genuinely don't read it unless you've seen the film. Really, don't read it. Super spoilers. Avoid.

 

You've been warned.


 

Spoiler

 

Seriously. Spoilers.

 

The thing I love most about this film is the dichotomy between the story itself and the world it's set in. The main thrust of the whole thing is the question 'Can I forgive the man who murdered my father?'. And the answer the film gives seems to be a resounding yes. If anything, at the end, Cee has not only forgiven Ezra, but sees him as more of a father figure than her father ever was. That yes does come with a couple of caveats. The first is that, as Ezra points out, her father seemed to use her like a tool. Cee's father was not exactly the greatest. He was a drug addict, he kept secrets from her, he used her and ultimately didn't seem to care about her happiness. She was secondary to his interests. He obviously cared for her in a way, but I don't think he ever loved her. In this case the question of can you forgive the man who murdered him seems easier to say yes to, but not necessarily easy to say to. The second caveat is that Damon might not have actually been her biological father. He never refers to himself as her father, and the only two things I can think that he should have told her before he falls asleep was either that they might not make it back in time and get stranded, or that he wasn't her father. Even if it's the latter, he raised her, so for all intents and purposes, he is her father, biology doesn't matter, and she doesn't actually know that he might not be her father anyway. So still, a yes. On the opposite side, Ezra apologises for murdering her father, but admits to being a killer. His arc is more concerned with overcoming his greed and to ultimately face his guilt in the form of not only attempting to redeem himself, but to put the needs of another above his own. So you have this dual idea of finding forgiveness for the unforgivable and receiving redemption for the irredeemable.

 

So you contrast this optimism with the world that these two characters inhabit and the dichotomy starts to form. The setting for the story can be summed up in a few words. Gold rush space western. Deadwood In Space - The Movie .Yet, the elements that caused the gold rush to become such a good setting for stories, with all of the betrayal and murder that rapacity and greed inspire, are given an extra element. This isn't an inert substance being dug from the ground.These are living creatures that are essentially defenceless against them. Humanity has arrived, found something valuable, killed whatever it needed to to get it and the last corporation is now abandoning the planet to it's fate as it's no longer economically viable to be there. What's more, not only are our characters engaged in this trade, they are about to go and kill the queen. They could very well make this organism extinct by killing it. Who knows? And in all of this is a familiarity that it's hard not to pick up on. That is what we as a species have done, are doing and will continue to do so.

 

Prospect suggests that it possible for a person to fundamentally change on an individual level in a plethora of ways. Ezra changes both psychologically and physically (holy shit at that arm scene) the ex-prospectors who decided to make the planet their home and try to buy Cee, the mercenaries who had spent too long in the green, the murderous psychopath in the cage who lets them escape at the end. The examples are all there, and yet the film seems to be suggesting that all of this is meaningless. That as a society we will repeat our old sins again for the foreseeable future, and maybe that we are even doomed to continue wreaking destruction and devastation as a species forever. That individual change does not mean collective change.

 

This is the essence of the conversation about human nature. And generally brings philosophers to the age old questions of 'Why be good?' and 'What is goodness anyway?'. By most definitions, none of the characters in the film are good. Both of the leads are murderers by the end. The supporting cast are all different levels of repugnant in some way. Are any of them good people and can they ever be? Prospect as a film could be considered a repudiation of deontology if you want to do enough navel-gazing. Which I clearly have.

 

This is what I've been thinking about after watching a sci-fi thriller about two people trekking across a planet to cut open an alien egg thing that looks a bit like puss oozing out of a really big spot whilst trying not to die.

 

I fucking love sci-fi.

 

 

 

 

tl;dr Watch this film already. And try to pay for it when you can, so that it's a success.

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