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SXSW Review: Spaceship

SXSWI can only assume teenagers will be the only demographic that enjoys Spaceship. Okay — please permit me to narrow that down. It will appeal to the emo subset. They’ll watch it with wonder, repeating favorite lines for about five years. And you know what? Good for them. I couldn’t be happier. For everyone else, though,  good luck trying to stay awake.

For a good while in Spaceship, I wasn’t sure what sort of universe writer/director Alex Taylor had crafted. Was it supposed to be set in a real environment? A heightened one? Alternate one where everyone accepted aliens, unicorns, and vampires? I eventually gave up trying to figure it out and prayed for the end (of the movie). Spaceship revolves around a band of goth and emo teenagers, as they roam the town all day exchanging empty philosophical musings, including the meaning of suicide as well as a specific dream every character must tell us about.

Alexa Davies plays the rainbow-haired Lucidia, who lives with her single father, Gabriel (Antti Reini). While out on the town one late night with her boyfriend (?) Luke (Lucian Charles Collier), Lucidia is pulled away by one hell of a UFO light show. While her father searches endlessly for his daughter, the rest of the group celebrate this occasion, frequently breaking into her room to see what they can take. There’s Tegan (Lara Peake), who resembles Lucidia’s mother, then there’s Alice (Tallulah Rose Haddon), who pulls her boyfriend around on a leash and believes herself to be a vampire.

The real hero of Spaceship is cinematographer Liam Landoli. This film is visual candy; it constantly sparks, pops, and bursts with color. It is what Rice Krispies are to the ears, pretty much. So when you’ve had enough of the endless subplots that don’t go anywhere, or the numerous different characters that inconsequentially drift in and out of the “narrative,” you can just ignore all that and concentrate on the spellbinding work of Liam Landoli. I wish the film weren’t so aimless and narratively impotent; a confident film would have brought substance to the style instead of rendering it powerless. Much of the film was reworked and improvised on set by the actors, and it absolutely shows. There are speeches that sounded very familiar from when I was in high school, and believe me, they weren’t deep then, and they sure as shit aren’t now. Not helping is that the film can’t connect any of what it’s throwing at you; the narrative tissue seems to have been lost. Even the lost daughter seems to be forgotten for long stretches of the running time. I honestly couldn’t tell if Taylor wanted us to be confused.

Watching Spaceship is what I imagine being abducted by aliens would be like. There were a lot of bright colors. I didn’t remember much after. My ass hurt.

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I never stand in front of the elevator doors when they open. All because of the movie The Departed.

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