Native (2017) * * *

February 19th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Daniel Fitzsimmons; Cast: Rupert Graves, Ellie Kendrick, Leanne Best. Joe Macaulay; UK 2016, 88 min.

Daniel Fitzsimmons’ low budget, minimalist Sci-Fi debut is not so much a futuristic undertaking, more a here-and-now psychological drama better suited to the stage than the big screen.

Cane (Graves) and Eva (Kendrick) are travelling in a hexagonal space ship to an unknown planet, tasked with killing off the local civilisation with a larva-like virus, stored in their craft. Cane and Eva have a strong telepathic relationship with their respective partners back on Earth, and when Cane’s wife Awan (Best) dies together with four of their unborn children, Cane is gripped by grief, losing all interest in the mission. Meanwhile Eva’s husband (Macaulay) communicates intensely with his wife, keeping an eye on the erratic Cane, more or less suggesting that Eva should terminate him. After a failed suicide attempt, Cane removes the inplant in his neck, freeing himself from his Earth-based controlling authority “The Hive”. After landing on the planet – there are no prizes for guessing which one – Eva kills a female of the species, but starts to become unfocused in her eradication task.  She has to make a decision between the orders of the Hive, and her newly found consciousness.

Set nearly all the time in the cramped spaceship, NATIVE is overly verbose whilst also tying to be enigmatic,  telegraphing the few twists available. Graves and Kendrick do their best to breathe life into the proceedings, but cannot deal with the limpness of it all: too much time is taken up with Eva gyrating like a lap dancer, and Cane walking around endlessly, like a stroppy teenager. DoPs Nick Gillespie and Billy J. Jackson introduce some magical effects with light and forms, but they can’t hide an overriding visual emptiness. NATIVE is a well-meaning nonentity. AS


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