Eric Demeusy (director)
18 May 2020 (released)
16 May 2020
There’s a touch of the Sheldon Coopers about the main protagonist Isaac (Ryan Masson) (though he’s a mathematician rather than a physicist and while he works in Pasadena it’s at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)) being a bit gawky, arrogant and out there.
Isaac is undergoing therapy (it’s never revealed what for) and his therapist suggests that he records his thoughts on video. Going up into the hills he does just that at the same as what looks like a meteorite hits and then having an alien encounter. After a blackout (lasting three days) Isaac returns to work to find his colleagues working on the site. He demonstrates his new powers though they can’t see them. What can’t be denied is the footage he has of the alien, which he releases on line to acclaim and ridicule.
Through it he meets Sara (Highdee Kuan) who had a similar experience and it catches the attention of the government. Grabbed by men in black they find themselves strapped to chairs in white rooms attended/tortured by androids on the orders of Agent Graves (Shaw Jones) who has a personal interest. Managing to escape they hook up with a computer nerd and activist Zed (Christian Prentice) who casually gets them all out of Costa Rica to Canada for revelations and confrontations.
Proximity is lightweight sci-fi and only fitfully engaging as the plot is not that original and the characters in the same vein. It does try to grapple the power of social media and the short-term interests and machinations of the more mainstream media but its half-hearted. Not so is the odd sequence towards the end featuring a bearded figure from the New Testament that suggests the film has a higher purpose.
There’s precious little character development in a film that feels padded out with supposedly deep conversations that fail to hold the attention. Had the film carried on a little while longer with the workings of the JPL on the initial discovery and research it may added some more weight to it. As it is the performances for the most part are adequate and is the direction (also the writer) by Eric Demeusy.
The most intriguing sequences are when the government are holding Isaac and Sara with the androids and questioning but that too is quickly dispensed with for a fairly unexciting escape and chase sequence. A word about the score that veers from majestic big space orchestration to synthetic pop songs with the sort of thought that goes into throwing confetti.