Monday, August 13, 2018

Prospect - SIFF 2018 Movie Review

The Movie: Prospect

The Director: Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell

The Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Pedro Pascal, Jay Duplass, Andre Royo, Sheila Vand, Anwan Glover

The Story: A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote moon on the hunt for elusive riches. But there are others roving the moon's toxic forest and the job quickly devolves into a desperate fight to escape.

The Review:
Locally made from top to bottom, the Pacific Northwest based film makers behind this project had to match their high concept ambitions with a limited budget and, in my opinion, came away with a very respectable effort. The story is unique and told in a way that is very deliberate whch allows you time to take in and process the level of detail put on display in everything from the CGI shots to the individually styled environmental suits. The movie has a very 70's science fiction feel to it and there are tons of influences from that era where the "used universe" concept really came into fashion.

I loved that the movie was filmed on the Olympic peninsula and on the outskirts of the Ho rain forest which has the look and feel of some far off planet yet is still recognizable enough for viewers to have a visual comfort level. CGI shots were limited to a just a couple moments in space and were expertly framed by windows to help them blend in with the closer environments. When you watch this movie, take a look at the level of detail in everything from the tools they use and costumes they wear to the practical effect native creatures and highly detailed ship interiors. It's all really impressive and the attention to detail adds so much to the story because it gives everything a life and a history.

The cast is pretty solid with Pedro Pascal and Jay Dupless bringing strong veteran leadership although the real highlight comes from the debut feature performance by Sophie Thatcher.While she does have some TV work under her belt, she has never had to carry a story from start to finish let alone a full length feature film yet she holds her own with a pretty impressive performance. She reminds me a lot of  teenage Emma Watson both how she looks and how she carries herself. There is an inner strength and presence on display that an actor just has and she definitely has it.

The Verdict:
Prospect is a good debut feature for Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell and I hope they are given a chance to work on projects with more available resources because they squeezed every bit of creative energy they could out of what they had to work with to get this movie made. It's pretty cool to see such a deep dive into the science fiction genre come out of Washington state and I would love to see more of this in the very near future.

Prospect is an official selection of the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival. coverage of the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival.

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