Alex Taylor (director)
Belly Productions Parkville Films (studio)
19 May 2017 (released)
13 May 2017
The impression of Aldershot, as presented in Spaceship by writer/director Alex Taylor, is that most of the teenage population is wrapped up in either Emo or Goth culture, who in turn are wrapped up in themselves. This interesting directorial debut covers the tribes, loss, grief, a little BDSM and a touch of ScFi.
The story revolves around Lucidia (Alex Davies) and her archaeologist father Gabriel (Antti Reini). They are both at different stages of mourning for mother and wife, who died mysteriously in the family’s swimming pool.
Lucidia is having her problems but has a coterie of good friends who upon her sudden disappearance decide to break in to her home, where Gabriel catches them. This pulls Gabriel out of his semi stupor as befriends one of them - Tegan (Lara Peak) - and forces him to look at the world from her and Lucidia’s perspectives.
Taken at face value this is about teen angst and the difficulties of being in those almost limbo years. They can be tribal, friendships gained via fashion and music, generally with an air of exclusion, and there’s a snob factor about being either with the in or out-crowd, the latter as snobby as the former.
There is a deeper film here, with Gabriel’s friendship with Tegan allowing him some insight into his daughter’s seemingly closed world. In trying to explore the inner world of the teenagers Taylor has allowed the actors to improvise some of their dialogue. This stems from his short films and in those contexts its ok. In this longer format, it doesn’t quite work as much of the dialogue borders on the banal, which may be authentic but not particularly engaging.
The central performances from Davies, Reini and Peak are solid, though not very sympathetic. More involving is the relationship between Alice (Tallulah Haddon) and her dog collared ‘slave’ (Jack Winthrop), it's very short and almost inconsequential to the story, just so sweet and naturally played.
There’s clearly not much of budget here but Taylor has made good use of what he has and the scenes in the club are startling as the bright fluorescent colours contrast with the murk of the interior. The soundtrack is eclectic to say the least ranging from electronica through pop to folk and luckily not colliding.
The film feels a little padded, and at times, looks a bit of a patchwork, but there are plenty of ideas to reflect on.