Australia has produced its fair share of talented filmmakers such as George Miller, Baz Luhrmann or The Spierig Brothers who all have big ambitions and the smarts to pull it off. Well, you can now add Shane Abbess to that list, as The Osiris Child (AKA Origin Wars) is a solid sci-fi flick that affirms Abbess’ place as a filmmaker who does what he wants and manages to deliver with remarkable results. What this has in common with his previous two movies (2007’s Gabriel and 2015’s Infini) is that this presents a heightened world that is firmly grounded by its cast, which makes the narrative, the action and the drama all the more compelling.
For an independent Australian production with a moderate budget, the film is designed really well with the production design detailed richly in every aspect, plus Abbess crafts concise images gorgeously thanks to the aid of his trusted cinematographer Carl Robertson. The creatures known as the Raggeds are well-designed, fantastically constructed and, in certain close-up shots, look lifelike thanks to the use of practical effects, however it kind of proves to be its downfall as they seem incapable of conveying real movement as a result of the cumbrous suits and iffy puppeteer work.
As far as performances are concerned, Daniel MacPherson proves to be an engaging lead as the desperate father in search for his daughter, whilst other main lead Kellan Lutz actually provided a surprisingly solid performance as the tortured nurse. Both Luke Ford and Isabel Lucas are pure dynamite as the drug-addled, redneck cousins, and Teagan Croft is a true rising star in the making, radiating innocence and real genuine dramatic weight and emotion.
However, despite the fact that Abbess is commendable for taking on an ambitious feat, this movie does have its limitations. The pacing is kind of uneven, being divided in multiple chapters and told out of order Pulp Fiction style, and it doesn’t quite gel together. The father/daughter relationship feels a tad rushed since the daughter is missing for too much of the movie, so it isn’t quite as emotional as it could’ve been. Perhaps this is due to a limited budget or just not having enough time to realise his creative vision, but despite those faults, still maintains that energy and intensity that keeps you engaged and not once does it become boring or disconnecting.
With all its faults, The Osiris Child is still a solid movie that shows the potential for what can be possible in Australian cinema, just as long as you have the passion, ambition and creativity driving it. Thanks to a talented cast, a talented writer/composer in Brian Cacchia, and a talented filmmaker in Shane Abbess, what we have is an entertaining little movie that provides genuine sci-fi drama and thrills for the good part of 90 minutes.
THE OSIRIS CHILD (AKA ORIGIN WARS) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SHANE ABBESS / SCREENPLAY: BRIAN CACCHIA / STARRING: DANIEL MACPHERSON, KELLAN LUTZ, LUKE FORD, ISABEL LUCAS, TEAGAN CROFT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW