By midlandsmovies, Jun 16 2017 09:20AM
Dir. Hannah Smith
A man in his underwear angles his telescope upwards as he stands partly-dressed in awe at an unidentified phenomenon in the sky and so opens Rogue, a new 12-minute fantasy film from the Midlands.
The director of this sci-fi short is Hannah Smith and she invites us to look to the heavens as well in order to tell a story of the cosmos and its impact back on earth.
The film cuts to reveal a huge planet in Earth’s atmosphere and we begin to wonder what risks this new body in orbit will pose to the population.
Smith uses impressive and realistic news television reports on screens to show the worldwide impact on a small budget yet officials are swift to issue a statement that it poses no risk and is due to pass without incident.
However, the aforementioned man (an excellent Alexander King as Jonathan Quinn) enters his wooden barn retreat where his newspaper clippings and blueprints suggest he may know more than the authorities themselves.
As he takes his concerns to a government office, they dismiss his “insane” theories, yet to him it is clear that there will be severe repercussions if no action is taken.
The film is well shot and composed and the candle-lit lighting is fantastic in night time barn shots but this contrasts sharply with the somewhat flat and lacklustre office shots. One sound issue during a conversation should have been picked up in editing – although it could be as a result of the YouTube upload I was viewing.
That said, the story continues as Alexander King channels his version of Woody Harrelson’s ‘crack-pot’ conspiracy theorist from Hollywood disaster flick 2012. This is the smaller sibling of that film with its media coverage of an impending large scale disaster.
Smith uses her small budget to create big sequences and I was very impressed by the level of effects to show the planet in the opening few shots.
Without giving the ending away, a freak heat-wave has those in power questioning the after effects of the planet’s passing. Tension increases via an 80s-music inspired montage sequence as Quinn creates an unknown device which may or may not fend off disaster.
And here Lincoln-based Hannah Smith leaves us hanging like the planet’s inhabitants - asking whether the protagonist can stop any impending tragedy.
Far from a catastrophe, Rogue is in fact a stirring and mesmerising locally-centred disaster film that shows huge promise from a first-time director and is impressive in its story telling, special effects and construction.
Midlands Movies Mike