Genre: Science Fiction
Starring: Dan Stevens, Bérénice Marloh, Tygo Gernandt, Charity Wakefield, Bas Keijzer, Mike Libanon, Mike Reus.
Year Of Release: 2017
Certificate: 15 (UK)/R-Rated (US)
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Director: Tim Smit
Writer(s): Charlie Kindinger & Omid Nooshin
Synopsis: “A pilot battles to save his family and the planet after an experiment for unlimited energy goes wrong.” IMDB
This 2017 American-Dutch science fiction film is directed by Tim Smit and stars Dan Stevens, Bérénice Marlohe, Tygo Gernandt, Charity Wakefield and Bas Keijzer.
In the not too distant future, energy firm Afterplex launches a revolutionary new method of sourcing unlimited energy from space in the guise of a quantum energy tower. However, when strange atmospheric anomalies start to occur and large vehicles start going missing in transit, it becomes clear all is not right.
Afterplex Executive Abby (Marlohe) recruits NASA physicist and pilot Will Porter (Stevens) to travel through the tower into a mirror universe of Earth, who also have a quantum tower, as both towers are rebelling against the other becoming unstable.
Will travels through to ‘The Echo’ Earth with a Redivider which he must plant within the cloned tower to balance the power transfer. But he learns the device is a kill-switch and will destroy ‘The Echo’. Will must decide which universe to destroy, and how much to sacrifice, before time runs out…
I only came by this by chance on YouTube seeing a trailer thumbnail. Dan Stevens left a good mark with me in ‘The Guest’ and Bérénice Marlohe has stuck with me since her turn in 2012s ‘Skyfall’, and with both in this sci-fi actioner, I had to check it out.
However, it became clear this was a very limited offering. A direct-to-DVD effort cashing in on the appeal of video games and ‘Hardcore Henry’. Yes, this film is 90% a 1st person view, and while the idea is novel in trailers, it REALLY doesn’t work in letting you invest and immerse yourself in a movie. For a video game? Yes. It works and always will. For a movie? No. Leave it.
Dan Stevens deserves better, and he has hit a low here. Spending a few scenes in front of the camera in a strange non-linear narrative jumping back and forward between past and present, 1st and 3rd person, Stevens has nailed the transition to America with faux accent, dark blonde hair and icy blue eyes. He’s a budget Daniel Craig, and to be honest deserved a crack at the 007 role.
When it cuts to 1st person, he’s providing voice-over in post-production, and it shows. He lacks any emotion, any sense of urgency and threat as the man in the scene evidently is facing. It comes across as wooden and literally script reading, which lets him down. Again, for narrating some bit-part video game character it would work, for a 90min movie? No.
Filled out by a cast of nobodies, bar Bérénice Marlohe, who still has a wonderfully feminine yet macho sultry voice and smouldering eyes that suck you in every time she looks at camera, it’s a very forgetful affair. Marlohe does lead the action stakes and gets stuck in, because without Stevens on screen, who knows it was him with a Go-Pro fixed to his head or some cheaper stuntman running around. Without Marlohe, this would be even more of a soulless film.
It’s your basic “student movie” check list, or rather films made on a budget that shows. The SFX aren’t TOO bad admittedly, but borrow heavily from the likes of ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘Blade Runner’ in terms of what we see like armoured drones, plasma guns and hi-tech visual displays. Most of the locations are old Dutch towns, country fields, quiet docks and interior sets that obviously have been scouted because literally no-one is around and it’s a cheap way to film a near post-apocalyptic world.
It’s faffs around jumping forwards and backwards, throwing us into a story and then pulling us back to explain more and more of it during the course of the 90mins. But the more it goes on, the more boring it gets with Stevens having to explain everything he sees and feels in 1st person, as well as his supporting cast narrating what to do next amidst boring pop-gun shoot-outs and boring car-chases that probably hit about 20mph.
Trying to offer innovative film-making and appealing to the video game/sci-fi crowd, ‘Kill Switch’ wants to be more than it is, but comes across as cheap and un-inspired.
Dan Stevens deserved better, and Bérénice Marlohe certainly isn’t doing well to match her turn as a Bond girl.