What the hell was that?... Spaceship is written and directed by Alex Taylor, who’s known for making well-acclaimed short films like Release of the Flying Monkeys and Kids Might Fly, and has described this film as being a film “fuelled by teenage energy”. It revolves around a cyber-goth teen mysteriously disappearing, and following this, her father begins searching for her while other teens start fantasising the circumstances of her disappearance as well as being lost in their own little world. Sounds interesting enough, but in all honesty, this is the kind of film that will either fascinate or alienate audiences, and for this reviewer, it was kind of film that was truly hard to engage with emotionally.
A lot of the narrative and characters feel too vague to connect with, and while it can be okay to keep things unclear when telling a story on film if you think the audience is smart enough to work it out on their own, there is nothing here to draw them in emotionally. It could be that Taylor was to trying to give us a revelatory insight into teen culture and the notions of being a teen outcast with quirks and all, however, there’s isn’t any depth or intrigue to any of these characters. In truth, they all act like glorified mouthpieces spouting out all this pseudo-intellectual and philosophical platitudes of conscience and one’s self that Taylor thinks is thought-provoking but instead comes off as naval-gazing and disconnecting.
Taylor wanted us to embrace the strangeness and weirdness this movie throws up, but whenever you see filmmakers like Darren Aronofsky try to do strange, thought-provoking movies, they at least tried to make it clever while also generating an emotional response. In the case of this, Taylor thinks that rambling on about unicorns, alien abductions and rainbows amounts to depth that will fascinate the audience. It doesn’t though, despite it looking pretty to look at through its neon day-glow aesthetic, plus the actors are clearly trying their best despite the hokey dialogue.
In the end, Spaceship is a confusing mess, that’ll either entrance or befuddle you with its pseudo-philosophical dialogue and visual-heavy narrative. Maybe there is the germ of an idea in there that has the potential to be exciting and thought-provoking, but it’s a shame that there are all the other elements dragging it down, and it isn’t hard to see why this film has grated a lot of people off the wrong way.
SPACESHIP / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ALEX TAYLOR / STARRING: ALEXA DAVIES, LARA PEAKE, LUCIAN CHARLES COLLIER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW