Movie Review: “Prospect” is Dirty, Dark and DelightfulOctober 21, 2018
TORONTO AFTER DARK 2018
Grim and grimy, Prospect is one of those films that really wants to be a sci-fi western and for the most part, it succeeds, thanks to some great direction by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, solid performances and wonderfully bleak atmosphere that surrounds this entire film.
We meet teenager Cee (Sophie Thatcher) and her dad Damon (Jay Duplass), piloting their space freighter on a mission to find some very valuable alien gems that will, in turn, make them very wealthy. Of course, they’re best-laid plans go out the window and soon they find themselves in the company of a rival named Ezra (Pedro Pascal) and all bets are off. A complicated relationship begins between Cee and Ezra, he becoming a weird anti-father figure to her, and this is where the movie begins to really get interesting.
Earl and Caldwell, co-directors and co-writers of the film, do a great job setting the stage with some wonderful tension, haunting landscape, and great visuals. Earl, who is also the cinematographer, paints a great picture using a great combination of CGI and practical effects. The planet that Cee, Damon, Ezra, and scattered others are on looks great and deadly at the same time. Death is always hanging there, whether in the form of humans or things all around them native to the planet itself.
Sophie Thatcher as Cee is a joy, slowly ramping up her performance as the movie moves along and has a very weird, complicated and necessary relationship with Pascal’s Ezra. For the most part this collaboration works, driving the movie forward although at times there are moments where their scenes are too telegraphed, the characters and their ‘relationship’ too familiar. However, that doesn’t take away from the performances, especially Thatcher who is very strong in her role as Cee.
While it is this relationship that drives the film, Earl and Caldwell are smart enough to know they will need more than just this, and interweave dark and beautiful landscapes during this western sci-fi trek. The interiors at the beginning, those inside the spacecraft, also come across as very real and somewhat claustrophobic. It is a nice contrast to the vastness and open country of the planet the bulk of the film is on, although being in those suits still gives the audience that claustrophobic feeling, which is a very nice touch.
Although there are moments in the film where some of the dialogue suffers and the scenes or scenery scream ‘been there, done that’, the movie reaches for the stars, no pun intended, and is successful in creating a great story and atmosphere for the audience to enjoy. Science fiction comes in many shapes and sizes but when it is dirty, haunting and human-like Prospect, it is a much more interesting story to watch unfold.
Three and a half stars out of five