Dir.: Alex Taylor | Cast: Alexa Davies, Antti Reini, Tallulah Rose Haddon, Lara Peake, Lucian Charles Collier | Drama | UK 86 min.
First time filmmaker Alex Taylor tries to evoke an alternative teenage world of alien abduction and unicorns in a dull corner of English suburbia. The result is a pretentious cocktail of pseudo-philosophy borrowing hopelessly from masters Gregg Araki and Guy Maddin.
Lucidia (Davies) is one of a bunch of teenagers who mistake their boredom for a creative impulse: popping pills and drinking whisky, they dress in psychedelic garb, trumping it up to be ‘avant-garde’. Lucidia’s mother died years ago under mysterious circumstances in her swimming pool, and her father Gabriel (Reini), an archaeologist of some sorts, has not come to terms with the loss. Feeling abandoned, Lucidia stages her own alien abduction. Her friends, stoned and/or role-playing, support this event: it gives them a credibility they have longed for. Gabriel now decides to get to know his daughters peers: there is Alice (Haddon), who drags her leather-clad boyfriend along on a leash like a dog, is supposed to be a vampire; Tegan (Peake) wants to be saved by Gabriel, but is happy spending her time being high, and Luke (Collier) who rides around on his motorbike, a tame imitation of Slater/Dean, eventually getting attached to a crashed helicopter. We never see the unicorns and black hole, but when Lucidia returns with a lame reason for her disappearance, the relief of cast and audience is mutual.
SPACESHIP looks like college cocktail of weird ideas, but rather than abandon the project, Taylor states in an interview that this improvised script was re-edited, and it shows: much of the senselessness of the narrative comes from the residue of another script version. To confuse matters even more, Taylor changes the POV structure of story-telling half-way through, to take an omniscient overview. DoP Liam Iandoli, also a debutant, tries to adjust to the spontaneous changes, without finding his own style in the process. The best part of SPACESHIP is its young ‘cast’, who just had fun. Most of the time, SPACESHIP is a bit of reverie for a middle-aged man surrounded by a group of sparsely clad teenage girls. AS
ON RELEASE AT SELECTED CINEMAS FROM 19 May 2017