Weighed down by laughable pretentiousness, Spaceship never comes close to lift-off. This low-budget British film concerns a schoolgirl’s apparent abduction by aliens in a town in Surrey, which sends her schoolmates and her father into a spiral of cosmic and philosophical uncertainty.
The characters all beggar belief; all of the schoolgirls are spacey, neon-haired rebel-sorts, talking in grand, vacuous platitudes masquerading as insight. The fact that such an outsider demographic seem to make up the entirety of the youth population (in Surrey, no less!) is, frankly, a strange and undermining falsehood.
The film frequently stumbles at scenes which are conceptually damned from the ground up. There is a painfully weak, wooden scene in which one schoolgirl lets another bite her arm and suck her blood. There is a semi-mythologised figure who has resolved to dance in a cave until he witnesses the alien. There is a scene set in a military compound in which an aged soldier reads an utterly, laughably dreadful poem about the dancing cave-boy. Towards the end all the kids begin dressing exactly like the missing girl, Lucidia, and one girl bafflingly tries to argue that she, that anyone, can be ‘a Lucidia’. Like some kind of angsty, nonsensical Sparticus. As you might gather, Spaceship makes very little sense.
“conceptually damned from the ground up”
Which is not to suggest that the film is undeserving of any praise. In particular, the cinematography, by Liam Iandoli, is stylish and striking, going above and beyond what would be expected of a film produced on this scale. Within the film itself, there are a few scenes that aren’t mired in the otherwise all-consuming pretention, mostly involving the missing girl’s Icelandic dad, played by Anti Reini.
Given this is director Alex Taylor’s first feature, there are positive ideations. However, there is far too much over-indulged nonsense for Spaceship to showcase its strengths. Even at under an hour and a half, it feels sadly much too long. It is a film in which the colourful, ludicrous characters do nothing but stand around and ask the biggest, vaguest, teenage questions, never once noticing that the audience frankly couldn’t care less.
Image: Alex Taylor