The Sci-Fi Film Festival London 2019 has thrown up a variety of movies, some solid sci-fi movies, some that the dubious film department may need to check out, but what’s been missing thus far is a good old fashioned sci-fi film, until now.
Adem, Torben Follmer (“HipHop Express”), is escaping, from what, we don’t know, but in the bleak, stormy wilderness he happens upon a spaceship. He enters, looking for, what? Salvation? Warmth? An escape?
Whilst in the ship he realises it might actually work. A flick of a switch shows that it is trying, but not quite managing to boot-up. As he’s trying, he comes face-to-face with the gun of Novak, Milan Pesl.
Pesl has been sent to bring Adem back, or so he says. Adem, thinking on his feet, shows Novak the ship almost working, this grabs Novak’s attention and he manages to start the ship.
Together, these two different men take off from this barren-looking planet in a daring escape as the storm rages outside the small ship.
But where will they go? What is this ship? Where are the crew? Adem begins to dig but Novak isn’t interested. However, a former crew helmet begins to put first Adem, and then Novak under some kind of spell.
Adem reads about this phenomenon in the crew’s diaries, but Novak is under the spell and aims the craft at the source of the melody in the helmet, much to Adem’s protests.
They arrive at a gas giant, all gold in colour, surrounded by ominous floating debris from other ships, none of which deters Novak. Venturing into the centre of the planet he dons a spacesuit and heads out. What will he find? Will he make it back? What can Adem do about his predicament?
The Final Land is an amazing debut film, written and directed by Marcel Barion, and a sci-fi film along the lines of 2001 or Blade Runner, the latter mostly based on the eerie Vangelis-esq soundtrack.
From the opening scene, which Barion uses to trick us into believing we’re already in space, you know you are in for something special, equally you know you are not in for a Star Trek or Star Wars-esq space-battle film too.
Barion uses the tiny spaceship to great effect, squeezing our two protagonists together, literally increasing the heat, having both men suspicious of each other, both with seemingly different agendas.
Both Pesl and Follmer perform the roles admirably. Pesl shines when he’s going off the rails, whilst Follmer is the frustrated escapee, struggling to bring Pesl around to the reality.
The film is long, at nearly two-hours, though there’s always something going on, despite the slow, build-up drama. Barion increases the pressure and tension throughout.
The film isn’t perfect mind; Adem’s attempts to bring Novak in-line using force is an eye-roll inducing scene straight out of a Hollywood action movie, but it is a brilliant debut, a visual feast for the eye and a head-scratching sci-fi which, at times, is just what you want.