Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Whenever I watch a sci-fi film, I expect it to have beautiful visuals and a touch of etherealness. Aurora Fearnley’s Pulsar certainly didn’t disappoint in that area, with its gorgeous cinematography and special effects standing out to me immediately. Out of all the shorts I’ve seen, this is possibly the most visually stunning so far. It’s a well-polished and technically impressive indie film.
The 16 minute long short follows intergalactic peacemaker Jonah (David Gyasi) who rejects his final mission to save an endangered planet, jeopardising the female ex-convicts crew of the spacecraft he’s stowed away on. The story loosely based on the biblical story of Jonah, and was made through film fund Enter The Pitch,
Personalities soon clash aboard this ship, with all three of the female crew being different in nature. This keeps the tension up throughout the film. The acting was very good across the board, with my personal favourite character being Cassa (Jessie Buckley). Both she and Blake (Anna Koval) are strong and outspoken, whereas Kile (Tahirah Sharif) is a lot more timid and visibly shaken.
It’s an incredibly claustrophobic film, you feel walled in with the characters and forced to experience the situation along with them. This is something I really like about sci-fi; it’s not like you can just leave the ship once you’re in it. It makes it even easier for characters to overreact and get into disagreements. Both the ship’s interiors and the areas around it are beautifully crafted, and do an excellent job of transporting you there.
It’s definitely one of the longer shorts that I’ve reviewed, but still very watchable with some good pacing throughout. This is Fearnley’s ninth short film, and she certainly knows what she’s doing. I look forward to seeing her potentially directing a feature length down the line. Until then, she’s always welcome on my Short Film Saturdays column!
Pulsar is a clever retelling of a well-known tale, with a futuristic twist. If you’re a fan of classic sci-fi films, this is certainly worth your time as it adds something new to the genre whilst still adhering to the themes and styles that we know and love. This might not be accessible for all audiences, but long-term fans of the genre will appreciate it.
You can watch the film, presented by DUST, here: