Since the release of Alfonso Cuarons Gravitas, the interest of major studios and filmmakers in creating works focused on characters in space has increased again. One of the best-known films in this sense is Interstellar, which sets a precedent for directors who wanted to leave their mark on the burgeoning science fiction genre.
Proxima is different. He rejects the usual novel to show how far the impact budget can go and focuses strongly on the script. Proxima’s current story focuses on the relationship between Sarah (played by Eva Green) and her daughter Stella. Since childhood, Sarah has always wanted to be an astronaut, and this ambition contrasts sharply with her daughter’s desire to be with her.
The film begins with Sarah’s preparation for the mission. At the end of the training, she must be quarantined and removed from all interaction with Stella. The most frightening thing about this conflict is that Stella can’t handle math, she doesn’t seem to have any friends and needs her mother now more than ever. It all comes to me when they’re physically and emotionally separated. She encourages Sarah to put her daughter first and reconcile their relationship.
Meanwhile Sarah is also dealing with her colleague Mike (played by Matt Dillon). Mike’s character is designed to emphasize flaws that Sarah can’t see for herself. It gives her advice and reflects Sarah’s struggle to show how her ambitions affect Stella negatively. At the beginning of the film, Mike seems to be an almost perfect person. He’s funny, he’s cute, and he’s doing great. Sarah doesn’t understand how many sacrifices he has made, and how far from perfect he really is. Their conversations challenge Sarah’s beliefs and surround her even more.
The themes of loneliness, acceptance and communication are the main drivers of Proxima’s conflict. They see the change in symbols because they have to give up their values. Emotional compromises benefit all characters. By the end of the film, almost all of them had grown and developed further than normal.
Proxima mainly tries to develop her characters. Each of their interactions serves to further enrich them. Many trophies could have been used in this film, which can be found in films about the balance between work and private life of the main character, but that is not the case. There could be more attention and separation than Sarah and her husband. There could have been a noisy, hectic scene where Sarah and Stella are arguing, but she’s not there. Proxima focuses on what it wants to achieve. Any deviation from this rule will make the plot unnecessarily confusing. Even the cosmic aspect of this story is virtually excluded in the film. More than anything else, it’s about framing the character’s motivation. The letter is good enough to be designed to show parts that cannot be displayed.
There aren’t many clerical errors, but I’ll do it anyway. Some of the secondary characters had too much screen time, and Matt Dillon’s character was a bit weak at one point. Moreover, part of the dialogue, although very well written, gave the impression of being somewhat unnatural. Sometimes it was as if Christopher Nolan used dialogue in his films. It’s not a big problem, but if more effort was made to make the characters more realistic, the performances would be more naturalistic.
Apart from the letter, performances have emotions and a heart. Eva Green and Matt Dillion get along very well. The relationship between their characters would suffer if they didn’t also work together. The most amazing thing was Zelie Bulan-Lemesl’s. She has absolute confidence in her debut, because she knows very well how to convey her emotions. All in all, these three actors (especially Eve and Zelie) evoke all the levels of raw emotion that the script requires.
Then there are more technical aspects. None of this is bad, on the contrary. Proxima is a very professional film and its production is breathtaking. Training scenes in particular are dynamic because they are visually interesting. The invoice is the same for the execution. It’s not too impressive, but it does help to create a general atmosphere. The color palette is also not too large, because the setting does not allow it. Cinema, score and colour palette are very important, but they don’t make or break Proxima because they are not in the spotlight. Alice Vinokur focuses on character development.
If you expect this to contain a space thriller, you will be very disappointed. At first sight Proxima looks like an ordinary science fiction film, but it’s much more than that. Of course there are no wild space battles or intense end games; it never made sense. The aim of the film was to create strong and versatile characters, and that’s what it ultimately does.
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