I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised by a movie and if I had to pick ONE pleasant surprise from 2010 I would go with this little independent film. Part “District 9”, part “Forces Of Nature,” this was nothing like what I thought it was gonna be…and that is a good thing. What could have easily been another “Cloverfield” rip-off, this is more of a character study of two lost souls who find themselves in an uneasy situation and make the best of it.
Aliens have landed on Earth and have been quarantined in northern Mexico. Andrew is a photojournalist who is trying to get photos of the aftermath of a violent exchange between humans and the giant alien creatures that are moving north. Along the way he is hired by his employer to find his daughter, Samantha, and bring her back to the states. Obviously this isn’t something that he WANTS to do but eventually decides that he will escort her home. Along the way, there are several detours they are forced to make and eventually they find themselves inside the “infected zone” and facing many demons, not all of which are alien life forms.
This could have been a complete debacle of a film considering the content. At first glance, this APPEARS to be an alien movie, but truthfully it’s not about the aliens at all. This is a full-blown love story about 2 people whose lives are broken and how this adventure across dangerous territory pulls them together. It’s a wonderful twist on the genre and although the threat of the aliens is what drives the tension, it’s not the controlling story arc.
Scoot McNairy (possibly the worst name in Hollywood? Discuss…) is fantastic as photographer Andrew, a man who struggles with being away from his son and who is, at first, put off by his hiring to be an escort. Whitney Able is Samantha and is wonderful in the role. She is a strong-willed woman who is not in love with her fiance and doesn’t want to face him or her father back in the United States. Able plays this role to the hilt, adding multiple dimensions to a character that could have been played as a helpless victim.
Adding to this movie are this soundtrack and the locations. Jon Hopkins has created an ambiance with music that really makes every scene in the movie unique. And the locations (shot in Mexico, Texas, Belize, Guatemala & Costa Rica) are shot in such a way to show the beauty and the danger of the situations that characters find themselves in.
I am a huge fan of this movie and it is obviously one of the best of 2010. It’s unfortunate that it hasn’t gotten wider distribution but I don’t think it’s a movie for everyone so maybe it being a smaller film will allow it a chance to blossom on DVD? I don’t know. But what I DO know is that you should see this movie and enjoy it for what it is…a romantic adventure in the best possible way.
Overall Rating: A+