The year is 2039 and Captain Lee Miller (Gunner Wright) is the first man in space for over two decades. Alone, he is sent to the abandoned International Space Station to fix any bugs and modify the station so that it can return to full working order but when something unexplained happens on earth and communication with Operation Control is cut, he is left stranded in space. Now, with only himself as company and his life support diminishing, he finds a mysterious book chronicling a young American Civil War soldier as he travels to investigate a monumental discovery.
Opening with an eight minute voice over and montage that would make Terrence Malick proud, LOVE makes a cinematic statement that demands your attention right out of the gate. You can’t help but hang off every word that is being said, effortlessly gripping and so beautifully executed that it automatically reels you into its world and forces you to become invested. It’s high concept filmmaking that has the balls to work completely within the framework that the original idea presents.
I hope fans of the genre will agree with me here, but I believe science-fiction works best when it is used to exist beyond the genre, to reach out and tackle those grander themes and commit to them in a way that justifies the choice of sci-fi. And that’s what LOVE does with incredible results, boiling down the elements of the human existence that makes it worth living. Everybody knows what it’s like to feel lonely and have the need for human connection, what LOVE does is multiply that feeling by a thousand. I mean, can there be a more extreme example of loneliness than being alone in space 200 miles above everything and everyone you love?
It’s all about basic human connection and how important it is within all our lives as well as what the power that loneliness can have on the mind. It’s the yearning Lee feels that creates the film’s sympathy, the need to hear a voice or feel someone’s touch, as he slowly becomes obsessed with a photograph of a Russian astronaut that was left there by the station’s last inhabitants. It also asks the question ‘What is life without possibility?’ Is the fuel of life the fact that the unknown is around corner? And what would you do if your future was taken away and you had to stare certain death in the face day-after-day in the same place all alone? Of course, the film doesn’t answer these questions but it makes the audience put themselves in the situation and make their own choices.
One of the most impressive aspects of LOVE, however, is that what is rumoured to be a $500,000 budget, Eubank has been able to create a film with a hugely impressive level of the production design and special effects. You would expect to be able to see the seams; the cracks in the set or aesthetic where the evidence of the miniscule budget would show, but you can’t. It’s that attention to detail that makes this film such an achievement.
With a mind-blowing score from Angles and Airwaves and finishing off with a climax that is breath-taking, beautiful, poignant, flummoxing and mesmerising all at the same time, William Eubank makes sure that you remember the experience of watching LOVE. It urges you to watch it again and again and again and again. Take some time out of your weekend and seek this one out folks.