Science Fiction (2016) – By Misty Layne


Hmmm….guys, I am so torn on this film…

So what is SCIENCE FICTION about? The tagline says: “Five unknown, unread, and well-past-their-prime science fiction authors grapple with obscurity, infinity, and obsolescence (…and whether robots should legitimately be allowed to enter dance competitions). Filmed in the DOGME 95 spirit, SCIENCE FICTION is an existential comedy from writer/director Pablo D’Stair (HULLY GULLY: a new American romance; Mississippi Missippi Tu-Polo)” And I THINK that’s what actually happened for the most part? (robots being allowed in dance competitions – that DEF happened and was quite funny)

Look, I’ll be straight-up: I have an ex who was an unknown, unread, well-past-their-prime science fiction author, so I MIGHT (definitely) have a little bit of a bias when it comes to books of a sci-fi nature (and my adoration of reading just never extended to sci-fi past a few STAR WARS novels when I was a kid anyway). Which is another way of saying, dear god, do you know how many times I have had to sit through these types of conversations IRL?? SO MANY TIMES. And if you aren’t into sci-fi, there’s only so much talk about nanobots and corn taking over the world and dancing robots and universal moral quandries that one can take. So to be honest, after about 20 minutes of this film, I was really bored.

This doesn’t mean YOU will be though (hence my pointing out my predilection for disinterest). If you love sci-fi, you will fucking love this film. It is NOTHING but existential talk for an hour and a half. And there ARE some quite funny lines in all of these conversations (see aforementioned dancing robots and corn taking over the world). Nothing MOVED though. The camera barely moved (although I believe that’s a trademark of director, Pablo D’Stair) and sitting and watching people talk about things you aren’t interested in, doesn’t make for a fabulous viewing experience, unfortunately. Especially when every 15-20 minutes or so, everything stops and there’s just one of the authors standing against a wall in front of the camera, facing it, then turning side to side, while a voice over is going on. Those instances were too many, too long, and just did not help. I understand that this was each author “reading” a story or whatever but…

The thing about talk-y films like this, is that if you’re going to be concentrating on just people in small spaces, those people need to be absolutely phenomenal and able to carry a film on their facial expressions alone. None of these people did that. There wasn’t anybody who made me cringe and say, “omg, no, what is happening?”, but these people seemed much more like…well, people, rather than actors. Actual sci-fi authors perhaps, instead of actors. (Like when Stephen King has a small part in one of his films and you’re just, “Oh Stephen…”, ya know?) This wasn’t acting, it was just talking; and that makes a huge difference in filmmaking.

I think this film has a lot of potential (and I really really do think that if you love sci-fi, you’ll love this film regardless). I’d love to see more movement with the camera though, and more of a connected nature between scenes. No more “okay, stop, and now one person will stare at the camera” moves that distract and have you checkin your watch. More settings even – I think having even a dubious plot surrounding these discussions, holding them all together would help as well.

So yeah, guys. I’m torn. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of SCIENCE FICTION, but I do recognize it’s potential, and I recognize that it’s an extreme niche film that some people will adore as is, so I suggest you check out Facebook to get more info!