As the majority of us wake to yet another day of lockdown monotony, what a joy to know that our beloved media content continues to expand for our insatiable viewing desires. One such expansion comes in the form of Proximity, a sci-fi piece that not only teases outdoor adventures but off-world ones too. Sadly, big ideas melt into nonsense and soon enough you’ll find that this is an adventure you never really agreed to go on in the first place.
Isaac (Ryan Masson) – a young scientist – is abducted by extraterrestrial life, an event he luckily manages to catch on film. On his return to Earth, his story “breaks the internet” and our inadvertent young hero finds himself on everyone’s radar; fame at the expense of both his safety and his sanity.
The film works best during its first hour, as director Eric Demeusy explores news media, exploiting all it can from a viral story with no concern for the health or well-being of those subjects whom they chew up and spit out on a 24-hour cycle. To concern yourself with whether or not Isaac imagined/hoaxed the experience is not the issue, there’s a larger critique going on here, and Proximity hints at a fresh and exciting voice in sci-fi cinema.
Alas, the second hour descends into mad-cap, Spielbergian-wannabe adventure nonsense with horrible dialogue, cheap costume design, and no interest in exploring the themes introduced in the previous 60 minutes. To suggest that this film shifts gears would be an understatement, whilst ruining just how mad things get? Tantamount to cybercrime.
When it’s all over, it feels like a loss that the film decided against being a single, memorable experience in favour of attempting all things science fiction. From superpowers to men in black; robot henchmen to laser guns, the audience is inundated with ever-escalating episodes, none of which tie together in a meaningful or emotional way. Signs meets Prometheus meets Star Wars meets Stranger Things – the list is endless. Consequently, Proximity might be the most prescient of titles: always in the vicinity of interesting, but never pulling it off. It was right there from the start.
Available on VOD from Mon 18 May 2020