Director: Joseph Baker & Tom Large
Screenplay: Joseph Baker & Tom Large
Starring: Gillian MacGregor, Paul Brannigan, Richard J. Danum, Kristian Hart
Running Time: 83 mins
BBFC Classification: 15
Cole (Danum) stops a shop from being robbed by a gunman, but the shopkeeper is shot anyway and soon lies bleeding in his arms. Cole later agrees to meet his friend Richard at a party where, while waiting for his mate to finish shagging a girl, he ends up meeting the rather intriguing Maya (MacGregor) with whom he shares an immediate sexual attraction with. The two start a relationship, which is soon interrupted by an alien invasion. The District 9-styled alien ships hang in the air all over the place and people start to disappear never to be seen again.
Beyond focuses on what happens to an initially promising relationship when placed under extraordinary circumstances and how love can often turn to hate as expectations are not met and when external pressures are exerted.
The film flicks between the couple’s time on the run post alien invasion where they are hiding from the aliens during the night and are scavenging for food and supplies during the day, and during pre-invasion times when their relationship was under more normal pressures, such as during an unwanted pregnancy; well, at least unwanted by Cole.
Beyond is a tricky film to review since I’m struggling to see who the audience might be for this. Although it’s packaged as a sci-fi film it is really more of interest to those who like a more routine type of drama. There’s very little science fiction in Beyond; it’s all rather peripheral to the central relationship that is breaking down in front of our eyes.
My two main problems with this film are the fact that it’s way too talky for its own good, a fact that is made worse by my second main issue with it, and that is the sound design, which is pretty bad. One minute I had to whack up the sound on my telly in order to hear what was being muttered and then, in the next instance, I had to turn the volume down rapidly when a much louder section came about. The sound was very up and down, which rapidly became quite annoying.
Another issue I had with the film is that the two main characters are so self-absorbed and often unnecessarily antagonistic with each other that I soon stopped caring about them as they went from one scene bickering with one another to another equally squabblesome scene. Admittedly, the dialogue is pretty realistic and the acting itself is generally good, but I found them annoying and stopped wanting to engage with them after a while.
I also found the back and forth nature of the narrative rather annoying after a while, although, given the nature of the twist near the end, I don’t think the filmmakers could have shot it any other way. Having said that the twist is a good one and helps to make sense of the film looking back on what has occurred earlier. I think I’ll have to revisit the film sometime and see if it actually works on a second viewing, knowing how it all pans out in the end.
All in all, Beyond is a frustrating watch at times, full of arty philosophising, irritating characters and a rather confusing timeline. However, I think the filmmakers have a lot of potential and I’d be interested in seeing what they come up with next.
Beyond has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment. The only special features on the disc were trailers for the film itself, The Last Invasion and Rise of the Predator.