Proximity review – campy sci-fi close encounters | Film

This dorky, silly sci-fi feature offers a weird blend of high-grade craftsmanship (especially from the visual effects, cinematography and music departments), and guileless ineptitude, especially in the crucial realms of screenwriting, acting and editing. Writer-director Eric Demeusy’s CV includes contributions to an eclectic collection of titles, including Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and a bunch of seemingly self-made shorts (Bear of Bad News is a promising title at least). Consequently, there’s some kind of cool sequences where shiny spaceships appear, people’s arms are harmlessly severed and rejoined with magic alien bracelets, and a geeky whizz-kid hero named Isaac (Ryan Masson, whose huge, exophthalmic eyes are a spooky effect in themselves), who pulls off wacky feats of psychic skill. It would all be much more of a campy hoot if it didn’t go on for so long and bring Jesus into it towards the end.

After a flashback to a close encounter in Alaska back in 1979, the story picks up in the present day as Isaac finds an intergalactic signal in the lab. (He works for a Nasa offshoot.) Depressed about an earlier trauma, he goes hiking in the hills above Los Angeles with a video camera and, wouldn’t you know it, witnesses a spaceship crash-landing and meets a tall, grey extraterrestrial. Having fortuitously succeeded in filming the encounter, Isaac leaks the footage online and the story goes viral. This leads to yet more encounters with motorcycle-riding androids (who look like extras from a Daft Punk video), a pretty love interest (Highdee Kuan) picked up along the way and a shadowy government agency led by an agent with a grudge. It’s like a mashup of The X-Files, Chronicle, Contact and some dopey evangelical-funded, made-for-TV movie that’s meant to covertly convert tweens. Someone clearly ponied up money for the lush orchestrations on the soundtrack and the Costa Rica locations, funds that might have been better allotted to a script doctor.

Proximity is available on digital platforms from 18 May.

Source: The Guardian

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