Movie Review: Prospect (2018)

Prospect movieIt’s like just after the gold rush, if the gold rush had happened in space

Stars: Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal
Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl

Synopsis: A teenage girl, Cee (Sophie Thatcher), and her father (Jay Duplass) travel to an alien planet with the intention of striking it rich by searching for and digging up the hard to find gems that grow beneath the surface. While there they face not just the poisonous air that forces them to stay in space suits but other people who are also searching for the gems and of course human greed. One particular stranger (Pedro Pascal) also helps Cee to realise that trust shouldn’t come easily but it’s also sometimes better to be with someone that alone on an alien world.

Opinion: I found myself feeling very confused by this film after watching, not from the story so much, but from not being sure what time it was meant to be set it. Dates and time are never mentioned through the film, so I was basing my thought process on the visual clues given by the ship and outfits and weapons which to me seemed dated as though the film had been made in the 80’s or 90’s instead of today. I am ashamed to say it took me much longer than it should have to come to the following conclusion but….the reason it felt so dated is because this is a film with very little special effects and everything has been constructed and created specifically as needed for this production. In 2019 we are so used to big sci-fi productions full of CGI and fancy futuristic space travel and technology that when a film like Prospect suddenly appears it does leave you thinking that things look old and weird but actually they are probably more realistic in a lot of ways than other fancier productions. Once I realised this, the whole film transformed for me from this confusing “when is this happening?” question to this simple yet beautiful production that presents a small fragment of what appears to be a very large universe and that is honestly the kind of movie you sometimes need. On top of that it’s actually quite pleasant to look at with these rich forest scenes, very basic sets and a realism that you just don’t see enough of sometimes. Yes I love me some CGI sci-fi but I also appreciate that there are these basic and well thought out productions still around that show you don’t need extreme high budgets to show how things in space could be.
The story too feels like it’s merely a chapter in a giant book where you are barely given any back story on the characters or even as to where exactly they are and how long they have been there and been searching for these gems.  You are of course given small fragments of information at various times through the movie which are enough for you to piece the relevant information together, care about characters and understand what is happening. This movie is like the aftermath of the gold rush if the gold rush had happened in space on some random planet and in my opinion you really didn’t need to know any more than that. I also think the limited information aided in the fact that this film is a thriller of sorts and needed to have tension and uncertainty and a less is more approach can really fuel that and keep the audience questioning everything. There was only one time where I found myself truly wishing I had more than I did and that was when it came to Pedro Pascal’s character, Ezra. I just wanted to know more about why he was there and where he came from but that was from pure curiosity and not out of necessity.
Overall it was an interesting watch with a much slower pace than some people may expect from a sci-fi thriller, but I feel that it worked and besides my embarrassing long realisation about the time period I did rather like it.

Thrills a Minute or Not So Much: This movie has its edgy moments, but they aren’t what I would call some of the best I’d ever seen. It’s more so the creepy or unsettling feeling that you get at various points through the movie that make it really feel like a Sci-Fi Thriller. You know there is something that is going to happen, you’re waiting for it, you aren’t sure what it will be but when it does happen it will probably not be what you expect.


Prospect rating

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