PROSPECT *** USA / Canada 2018 Dir: Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl. 110 mins
Co-writing / directing team Caldwell and Earl adapt their 2014 short film for this ambitious, thoughtful – if ponderous – sci-fi / western hybrid with an excellent central performance from Sophie Thatcher (young Regan in THE EXORCIST TV series) as a teenage girl travelling to a remote moon forest with her dad (Jay Duplass) and sharing elegiac anecdotes of her birth and her mother. In dire need of money, they get a whiff of a lucrative prospect in harvesting rare crystals, but Dad sees the chance for millions and a stranded mercenary wants a piece of the action too. With its distinctive retro-look and introspective approach, this at times has the feel of a latter-day SILENT RUNNING, while offering an early, catalytic shootout and an extended, unlikely standoff between adolescent girl and world-weary mercenary that take the movie into western territory. At the core is a poignant and well played coming of age story that just happens to have an unusual location; the father-daughter scenes are the strongest and most engaging in the movie. It is punctuated with bursts of well-timed, tense action and violence and has a distinctive look and music score, but the material arguably worked better in short form.
Review by Steven West