Tim Fehlbaum’s “The Colony” has many concepts concerning the future, and whereas not all of them fairly stick collectively, there’s just a few attention-grabbing aesthetic and narrative selections to make it one thing of curiosity. There’s sufficient occurring to seize your discovery for temporary stints earlier than trailing off into dense plot particulars or well-worn sci-fi tropes.
“Local weather change. Pandemics. Wars.” These are the Horsemen of the Apocalypse that lead the ruling class to skip earth and transfer to Kepler 209, a faraway planet that finally ends up having some unintended long-run results. Two generations later, the wealthy need to return to earth as a result of their capacity to procreate has run out, a la “Children of Men,” so their civilization is growing older and can finally die out if one thing doesn’t change. They despatched an exploration group to scout their outdated dwelling planet, however, the first expedition was misplaced. We are a part of the second spherical simply as they’re crashing into the ocean. Miraculously, one lady, Blake (Nora Arnezeder), and one man, Tucker (Sope Dirisu), survive to start out their mission on a windswept ocean ground whereas the tide is out. Nevertheless, these explorers aren’t alone they usually quickly uncover this semi-wet “Waterworld” is definitely inhabited by the survivors—younger people all below the age of 30—of the poor individuals left behind by the higher lessons.
What follows is a little bit of a thriller, a little bit of an ethical outlook on the problem of colonization from the angle of the colonizer. Blake quickly finds herself alone on a house planet that feels something however welcoming, tossed right into a water-themed riff on the “Mad Max” motion pictures. The survivors, as they’re dubbed, actually reside as much as their title by way of their burlap and rags costumes, muddy faces, and unkempt hair. Blake makes an uneasy alliance with a younger survivor named Maila (Bella Bading) and her mom, Narvik (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina), however, there’s a much bigger group of survivors pillaging smaller teams like Maila’s and aligning itself with the power-to-be within the hopes of reaping their rewards. With them come secrets and techniques and a dastardly plan not simply to recolonize earth however the planet’s human sources.
The screenplay from Fehlbaum and Mariko Minoguchi—with further writing credit to Jo Rogers and Tim Trachte—can get slowed down in among the sci-fi jargon or cross-cultural misunderstandings (between the Keplers and the survivors, who developed their very own language after the well-heeled society took English with them). However, the story strikes at an inexpensive tempo, lunging ahead by way of duller moments to get to its subsequent reveal or motion sequence earlier than too lengthy. True to its namesake, “The Colony” ponders the moral implications of a dominant group turning into the rulers over an individual they see as inferior. Blake embodies that shift from somebody who was taught to think about “the nice of the various,” defaulting to the desire of the state, to somebody pondering for themselves and reaching a troublesome, if extra humane, conclusion.
Additional complicating the film’s feelings is that this dueling push-and-pull of Blake’s brushes with motherhood and the recollections of her father. The story will get generally obsessively fixated on her capacity to procreate, later defined by her technology’s lack of its capacity to take action, and whereas motherhood analogies will not be new to sci-fi, this one appears to depart her responses on a surface level. She’s uneasy when handed her first child and later takes on a maternal function for Maila when attempting to rescue her from captors. However, by the film’s finish, it’s unclear if motherhood is one thing she needs or one thing the colony needed for her. Blake’s father (Sebastian Roché), who was amongst these misplaced within the first exploration, looms giant in her thoughts, and he or she’s pressured to reconcile along with his teachings within the face of its implications.
These flashbacks present a sanitized, brightly lit world of the wealthy ex-pats, a world away from the grim earth the place they left the poor behind. It channels the sort of class division in sci-fi motion pictures as “Metropolis” or “Elysium,” the place one group lives in luxurious and the opposite half can’t even fathom that stage of consolation. To create this muddy view of the longer term in “The Colony,” Markus Förderer’s largely grungy gray and inexperienced cinematography concocts a visible type that appears so thick, you nearly count on the digicam to emerge dirty itself. It’s an artistic feat that sells the phantasm of a future world the place giant tides have destroyed a lot of the ecosystem we all know as we speak (RIP bushes) and leaves behind nothing however ocean spray within the air.
Nevertheless, not all elements of “The Colony” obtain lift-off. Following within the footsteps of nice ladies’ main sci-fi motion pictures however by no means stepping out of their shadow, Arnezeder fails to convey Blake to live by way of her efficiency. It’s wood and serviceable however none-too-memorable, nearly like among the film’s expository scenes or its tacked-on ending that brings little closure to among the concepts posed within the narrative. “The Colony” is extra of a daily distraction than one thing that can actually problem a worldview.
Now taking part in theaters and accessible on digital platforms.