Sometimes it is hard to be a film reviewer. I always strive to find something that I liked about a movie. I don’t want to just sit here and say everything is awful. Because it isn’t. Sometimes though, it is difficult to get on the same wavelength as a writer or a director. Sometimes the vision just passes you by. And that’s ok too. There will be plenty of others who do like the movie if I don’t.
This brings me onto Orion. Now, I did want to see this film, but that was because I thought it was something quite different. I was expecting something along the lines of The Road maybe, perhaps 10 Cloverfield Lane. I was expecting a modern post-apocalyptic tale, if that makes sense. I wasn’t expecting this.
I get that by their nature, post-apocalyptic tales should be dark, bleak, perhaps even a little surreal. But Orion, written and directed by Asiel Norton (coming six years after debut film Redland – also a post-apocalyptic tale), takes this way too far for me.
The story, if it can be called a story, is basically about a hunter, David Arquette (Scream, 3000 Miles to Graceland), and a woman, played by Lily Cole (The Zero Theorem, Snow White and the Huntsman), running away from a shape-shifting, wizard, cannibal, played by Goran Kostic (Taken, Hannibal Rising) across a wasteland known as The Rust, played aptly by Detroit.
What we actually get is very little dialogue, and what dialogue there is, is so hard to hear there may as well not be any anyway. We get lots of orange filtered camera work, plenty of lens flare and shots of the sun, lots of shaky-cam which, as you regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of. There’s lots of shots where it looks like the camera is in a bag…so we have an odd, dark filter style effect around the edges but I’m not really sure why. There are plenty of EXTREME CLOSE-UPS! Lips, the occasional boob a hair-line. Again, I’m not really sure why.
There’s also a lot of religion thrown into the movie for good measure. Arquette is hearing voices telling him he’s the saviour whilst Cole believes she’s going to have a virgin birth. We do also get a crucifixion thrown in for good measure. Though Norton doesn’t quite (pun-alert!) nail the scene, it is one of the better ones.
I’m sorry to have to report, and I really am sorry because I think there’s the basis of a great movie here, that this is definitely style over substance. If Norton wanted to showcase his style, then perhaps he should have done it with a series of shorts, or made a show reel, perhaps filmed a music video, you know, the usual way. Instead we have Orion. I’m tempted to liken it to the madness of the early Australian films. The ones that appeared around the same time as Mad Max came out and where just bonkers. However, I think I’ll just leave it and say it wasn’t for me.
When you have Orion without the belt, it seems it all falls down.