Director: Shane Abbass
Starring: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Harry Pavlidis. Australia. 1h 30m
Sometimes the ideas in sci-fi movies are so brilliant they are easily missed, but when dealing with advanced concepts about mimicking bodies, mutations and genetic diseases that are totally alien, there’s no real easy way to go about it. But I feel with some more attention to editing and with an actual drive to interact with an audience then this could have been more hard-hitting and some of its counterparts
I would never suggest that Shane Abbass, is actively copying any other films that I’m about to mention, but I’m willing to step up and say that I’m actually quite intrigued by what he could do with a small budget, this previous movies Gabriel (2007) managed to pull off a lot that was missed from the Prophecy film franchise, with all of his film mastery and magic however, just now and again he just can’t seem to get something quite right and I can’t quite put my finger on it. To my eye, there seems to be a really strong connection with Franck Vestiel’s, Eden Log (2007) and Pandorum (2009) and though Inifini doesn’t really step on any toes per say it appears that they are probably best watched together as a trio of great sci fi movies all connecting a similar theme.
In a downtrodden future, a chilled man, Whit Carmichael (Macpherson) is living just above the poverty line and takes an extremely dangerous mission for the sake of his unborn baby and loving wife. This payload will help get them off the breadline, but on the first day of the job everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. There’s some black hole business going on so time loops and slips are scattered throughout but luckily they don’t fuck with the movies narrative too much.
Whit suits up for his primary mission of going to an off world mining colony on O.I. Infini, the previous team who left any seconds later but are hours into their mission return infected with an unknown virus which sparks a massive freakout and lock down, but Whit has to get out (after all he did promises wife you would do everything to come home to her safely) and uses some contraband tech but he ends up transporting into the mining colony with the outbreak has come from.
Moments later another team are suiting up to rescue Whit and to destroy an unknown payload heading to earth from the mining colony that’s going to kill us all..seconds have passed, although on Infini it’s a week or longer. This new team seemed to be some attempt to make an Aliens (1986) style badass crew and it’s been reported that a lot of them stayed in costume and lived on the set during filming to keep the authentic atmosphere and to stay in character.
Initially Whit warns the crack squad of experts, that there is a potentially deadly virus and a tries to confirm that he’s clear of it after managing to lock himself away from the rest of the crew who are currently running around killing themselves and each other and ripping off their skins. But after a bit of drama they settle down to get on to the task of saving the planet.
For me there are three stand out characters, the lead, Whit, who’s played by Daniel MacPherson, and with all of his tv acting, this is only his second full length production and he’s very convincing in his role, skittish but also intrigued to find out what’s going on almost as much as his audience, there are a couple of the Marines who stand out a fatherly figure played by Harry Pavlidis, he’s stern but his approach to his role is really spot on, and the young guy who does a lot of talking and reasoning who reminds me slightly of a younger Philip Seymour Hoffman is actually Luke Ford, who really holds up in the action and cerebral aspects of the movie. Abbass has used a lot of actors who appeared in his last production, Gabriel so there’s a lot of familiarity and it pays off as this is more demanding.
There’s a lot of effective sets and costumes in this production and hints of a a highly sophisticated and effective mining operation powered by wind turbines it seems some care was taken to extract whatever it is that we needed from the planet and not totally destroy it, but the nature of the the virus is in stark contrast, and it comes across as being quite destructive and usually inside by we are the ones who go down heavy-handed.
Unlike Pandorum, Eden Log or any other virus, mutation sci-fi fantasy, the nature of this beast is more psychological than biological, and while there are some short burst of action fighting monsters etc in the realm of Doom i.e humans that have been mutated, most of this battle is quite cerebral and comes from a lot of deep thinking and talking, but the reasoning seems a little sketchy but on the second watch it really begins to work, imagine being able to talk to a virus!
This aspect adds a touch of confusion until the big reveal is finally revealed but it also has a lot of depth and character, this is not just another generic action sci-fi film, Abbass is trying to add more, and it just about works, but for me it could have been much better if it deciding on being either an action movie or a lo fi experiment.
After over bloodshed and philosophical wondering armchair scientific research and experimentation the film ends with a tragic bitter pill, there is no doubt that this movie was a labour of love and Abbass is well known to put everything you can into his films which makes any shortcomings that much harder to bear, but I feel will there should have been a decision earlier on if this is going to be an action film or something more along the lines of a lo-fi sci-fi film where the hard mechanics are more I play them men running around shooting aliens.
R: Gabriel (2007) , Eden Log (2007), Pandorum (2009)
L: Sci Fi Infections, Off world Disasters,
5s: Shane Abbass