Love * *

20130314-131159.jpg

Director: William Eubank.
Screenplay: William Eubank.
Starring: Gunner Wright, Corey Richardson, Bradley Horne, Nancy Stelle, Roger E. Fanter, Ambyr Childers.

I often find it difficult giving my opinion on independent films as I’m aware of the struggles that have been faced in order to bring it to the screen. They are hard to criticise, as the filmmaker certainly doesn’t get the same luxuries or benefits that the financial backing from a big studio would bring. However, when all is said and done, it’s ultimately the material that it should be judged upon. Such is the case with this film; it’s undeniably impressive in it’s assembly but found wanting in it’s substance.

As I can’t really be bothered to write the plot summary, I’ll leave you with the director’s own description of the story… “After losing contact with Earth, Astronaut Lee Miller becomes stranded in orbit alone aboard the International Space Station. As time passes and life support systems dwindle, Lee battles to maintain his sanity – and simply stay alive. His world is a claustrophobic and lonely existence, until he makes a strange discovery aboard the ship”.

As the film opens, we find ourselves in the midst of the American Civil War and a commentary that’s reminiscent of the work of Terrence Malick. Visually, it looks spectacular and you wouldn’t think for a second that this was shot on a shoestring budget. Debutant director, William Eubank certainly knows how to capture a scene and his work here is exceptionally well handled. There’s a good sense of atmosphere and overall, ethereal, feel to the film.
From the battlefields we are then taken to a space station that is orbiting earth and we are introduced to our protagonist who wanders his enclosed environment and ruminates on his lonely existence much like Duncan Jones’ “Moon” or Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey“. It’s not just the setting but also the existential nature of those films that this tries to emulate. Sadly, it’s nowhere near as good as either of them. The isolation of our protagonist brings about a monotony in his daily routine and that monotony is soon shared by the viewer. To put it simply, very little happens. I got the point of his dilemma and the effect that it had on his psyche but it’s laboured too strongly and the connection between the astronaut and the civil war is tenuous at best. There are many verbal musings throughout, whereby some lovely passages of words are weaved together but it sounds more poetic than it does philosophical and I think that’s where the problem lies. The film has airs and graces of having challenging, philosophical, ideas but doesn’t really have anything concrete to cling on to. I kept waiting for some revelation that would tie everything, meaningfully, together but when it arrived, it didn’t deliver the punch I was hoping for and only confirmed my suspicions of how pretentious the film really is. The only thing that really makes sense is that it was funded entirely by the band “Angels and Airwaves” (who also provide the soundtrack) and it comes across as an exercise in marketing their own stuff and no more than a glorified music video.
In fairness, it does manage to hold your interest on the visual front with some stunningly captured images and moments. However, impressive visuals do not a good film make. If it continued how it began, then it might have had something going for it but it didn’t and it doesn’t.

The major issue with Love, is that it believes itself to be deeper and more profound than it actually is.
There is such a thing in the cosmos known as a ‘Black hole‘. This certainly has a hole, and it’s head is too far up it.

Mark Walker

20130314-131227.jpg

Advertisements

70 Responses to “Love * *”

  1. I sounds like it has plenty of potential but no punch. That’s a shame. Good review Markster!

    Like

  2. We obviously disagree on this one – the civil war scenes alone made this work for me – the actual space station stuff was boring but I could watch the war scenes over and over again.

    Like

  3. “funded entirely by the band β€œAngels and Airwaves”” Say no more Mark, that’s all I need to know! πŸ˜‰

    I know what you mean about having trouble criticising independent works. I felt like that about Once. It was clearly made with no money but the cheapness of it really had a negative effect on it for me. Everyone else loved it though apparently!

    Nice review mate.

    Like

    • Yeah, I feel like a bit if a shit criticising independent filmmakers but you’ve got to do it. Anyone that takes the time to read my reviews, I’d rather be honest with them. I don’t want to steer people onto the wrong path just to be nice to someone that tried to make a film. If a film’s crap then it’s crap, period. Financial backing or not.

      Like

    • This is why biased reviews are unfair, the band are amazing!!!! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  4. That plot summary makes it sound interesting, shame the execution wasn’t as you expected. Still I might check it out myself.

    Like

  5. I want to see this so bad Mark, 2 stars or not. Love your comparison of it’s plot holes to a black hole, wise my friend. πŸ™‚

    Like

  6. Mark, I have not seen this as of yet, was it streaming on Netflix?

    Like

  7. I always get jealous when I read your work as you’re one hell of a writer. Great review. I remember seeing the trailer for this forever ago (it had amazing music) and I really wanted to check it out. However, I’ve only heard bad things, which is such a shame.

    Like

  8. While I still have to check the film out Mark I did come across an interview a while back with the director William Eubank.

    http://www.thescifishow.com/2012/08/blog/love-an-in-depth-qa-with-director-william-eubank-and-star-gunner-wright/

    There’s some interesting pics from the set included. Interestingly enough the director brings up The Thin Red Line and 2001 so it’s no coincidence at all to the resemblances.

    Tom DeLonge, the singer of Angels & Airwaves, is also the singer for Blink 182.

    Will et you know what I think when I see it.

    Like

    • Yeah, I definitely took some Malick and 2001 from it. That’s what struck me straight away. At that point, I thought I was going to love it but it’s soon got bogged down and went nowhere. Thanks for the link and for dropping in Dave. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts for sure.

      Like

  9. Don’t you think you’re being too harsh? I don’t! πŸ˜›

    Like you said, the movie was really nice visually.

    Like

  10. guess you didn’t love this one too much then

    Like

  11. I don’t like leaving links, and feel free to delete it, but I feel since we have some readers who follow us both, I need to point out a defence and try to appeal to those people you are steering away from the film to give it a chance!!

    This film was made in someones back yard, and was years and years in the making. Not a music video, they dont even sing, they just scored the track. It looks phenomenal, and the ending ties everything together perfectly. It got great reviews and reactions from major sites after it played in festivals. The fact is it leaves everything open to interpretation, and I feel you are being way too harsh on it. And of course its your opinion, but you did say somewhere recently you like people disagreeing. And im doing it politely, or trying to. You are just so unfairly wrong on this occasion Mr Walker. You’re just lucky I love you so much, but man your too cruel on this. πŸ™‚

    http://headinavice.com/2012/07/05/love-2011/

    Like

    • Haha! There’s a lot of love between us Mr. Carter. A lot of love but I’m going to have to split hairs with you on this. I’m aware of how they made this and how long and difficult it was for them. In fairness, it doesn’t show. That’s the film’s strongest point. It’s beautifully put together but it’s the story that the major issue. The problem is… there isn’t one. It waffles on and on about this guys fragile state of mind but it’s also incoherent and throws plot strands at you as if it can somehow be all pieced together. It can’t. It’s art house nonsense that thinks it’s ambiguity is clever. It isn’t. It’s dull, repetitive and downright boring. I’d watch Moon, Solaris, 2001 or any Terrence Malick film over this any day. This film wishes it could even lace the boots of any of those and it never will.

      Like

  12. This reminds me of Moon a bit just from the description. I have to admit I’m curious about this one but felt that the somewhat sensational title is quite hard to live up to. I mean when you see a one-word title with such a strong word, you expect greatness, y’know πŸ˜€

    Alas I think you confirmed my dread “…it’s undeniably impressive in it’s assembly but found wanting in it’s substance.” You’re such a great writer Mark, lovely review.

    Like

    • It is a little like Moon, Solaris and in some ways 2001 but it doesn’t match any of those film’s Ruth. I really thought I was going to enjoy this. I normally do with film’s if this type but sadly not on this case. You should still give it a go by all means. Like you’ll see in the comments section, Tyson vehemently disagrees with me and has left a link with his more positive review. He’s still wrong, though. LOL.

      Thanks as always for the compliments Ruth. You are the second person to say that to me today. I might end up getting a little carried away with myself. πŸ˜‰

      Like

      • Mark… Tyson… I’m gonna watch Love tonight and post what I think tomorrow. Maybe I can break your stalemate. As much as I’m enjoying the witty banter being bandied about… I think a winner need be declared before this thing turns into a full blown jihad. LOL. Being well versed in 2001, Moon, Solaris (Tarkovsky & Soderberg), the Malick canon, David Bowie’s A Space Oddity, the follow up, Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling and Ken Burns Civil War… I’m in a unique position to call this thing. I think my resume stands for itself. πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • Your resume is certainly impressive Dave. You’d be the perfect one to judge this and put an end to this nonsense once and for all. πŸ˜‰
        I look forward to your take on it.

        Like

      • Crap I’ll have to post tomorrow. Ran out of time before work. To be continued…

        Like

      • Aww man! You’re keeping us hanging on? C’mon… πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • Like Orson Welles use to say… I shall serve no wine before its time.

        Like

      • Wise words. Very wise words! πŸ˜‰

        Like

  13. “This is an idea, not a story.” breissig-234-335585 – IMDb

    This best sums how I feel toward Love.
    5 stars for effort. 2 1/2 for execution.

    Let’s get to the good first.

    – Wow! The visuals and SFX are stunning considering the $500 K budget. I could have watched this with the sound off. The Civil War scenes were pretty great on their own. Pulling off two genres with that budget is no small feat.

    – The DIY set design was brilliant. Although the box fans from Walmart were a bit to obvious. LOL. Apparently they wanted to rent the Apollo 13 set for the movie but it proved too costly.

    – The music was spot on. Atmospheric… ethereal. Very well done.

    – I thought the way he was cut off from Earth was an interesting plot device if a bit too understated and brief.

    – It kept me interested until the end. Sounds like faint praise but it isn’t. Especially when you see the film below that I couldn’t make it all the way through. May have had something to do with the lengthy running time on that film.

    The bad.

    – There just wasn’t enough story for me. Actually this would have worked better as a long form video for the band Angels & Airwaves as Mark said.

    – It was much too derivative of Solaris and 2001. Then again Moon was very derivative of 2001. You just didn’t seem to mind as much as the execution was much better.

    – I didn’t feel any connection between Gunnar Wright and his significant other unlike in Solaris between Clooney and McElhone. The woman seemed straight out of a sexy music video to be honest. In fact I didn’t feel anything for the character until he decided to abandoned the space station. That scene was actually quite moving. Kind of wish he’d undone the carabiner that was keeping him tethered to the space station like an umbilical cord. It reminded of me of the scene in A.I. when David, all alone, appears trapped undersea for all time. That would have been a much more profound and poignant ending to me than the happy ending they gave it.

    – Nagging questions like… Where did the tattoos come from? Did he really have 7 years of supplies to survive all that time? Zero gravity? Why did the space station scenes feel more like present day than 2039? I gave them a pass on the zero gravity thing due to the budget constraints and it didn’t detract from the film for me.

    – The interviews interspersed in there didn’t really work for me.

    – The ambitious title “Love” didn’t work. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling the “Love”.

    – The acting during the stir crazy scenes. Reminded me of Harland Williams in “Rocket Man”. LOL. But seriously, they watched Castaway and you can see that influence in there. Preferred Sam Rockwell’s performance in “Moon” much more.

    – The ending. It just didn’t didn’t pack the punch for me. Instead of ending up in a pristine Victorian room he’s just in a really nice bed & breakfast. LOL. Also he apparently ends up in Google’s server room and it’s being controlled by a Commodore 64 and a 70’s Zenith TV set?!?

    Some final thoughts.

    I didn’t find this nearly as pretentious as Mark did. Personally The Tree of Life has been the most pretentious thing I’ve seen in a while. Yes… I said it. While stylistically it worked wonders for Malick on The Thin Red Line and The New World… it just didn’t hold up for the The Tree of Life. Difference being the story just wasn’t there for The Tree of Life.

    I would definitely like to see more form William Eubank. I’d rather see him swing for the fences like Shane Carruth and Benh Zeitlin even if Eubank’s missed it on this one.

    So the winner is… Mark. A bit too harsh on it I’d say but not too far off. I just didn’t feel the intent was there to be desperately profound. Instead I just think they just weren’t able to pull it off tonally and story wise.

    Like

    • Fine input here Dave and you break it down very well. I can’t argue with your pros and cons at all and maybe I was a tad harsh on it. I just get frustrated when I’ve invested my time in something that goes absolutely nowhere. Visually stunning and impressive but that’s really all this had going for it in my opinion. Thanks for checking it out and contributing, though. Always nice to here your opinion.

      Like

      • Tyler while you obviously totally disagree… I gotta ask … What’s with the tattoos suddenly showing up? How did he survive 7 years w/o his food being restocked? Wasn’t it seriously derivative of 2001 and Solaris? Did you really feel a real connection between Lee and his wife/girlfriend? Did it really feel like 2039? Why didn’t he not at least explain away the zero gravity issue like with other films set in the future like Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Alien, etc? I’d be curious to hear your reply.

        Mark and I both felt that this is a film that we both should really like but didn’t. Mark was much harder on it than me but I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time. I totally get why you like the film so much but with it being “hard” sci-fi the facts really matter and I couldn’t get past those questions… along with story development and the feeling like I’ve seen this before. Maybe had I not seen 2001 or Soderberg’s Solaris I’d feel differently.

        Like

      • That’s a good point with regards to Solaris, 2001 and even Moon Dave. I love them all and if I hadn’t seen them beforehand, there’s a chance I wouldn’t have been as harsh on this as I was.

        Like

    • Obviously I totally disagree, but it’s a fine comment you’ve made and I respect your thoughts. πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. So I was on a fishing trip in a remote location in Mexico and we had no TV no internet and basically no communication with the outside world for a few days. I decided for some reason to download this movie onto my ipad and bring it with me on the trip. Nothing like watching a movie about a guy trapped in space while you are trapped in the middle of nowhere. lol. Great review, I completely agree. You get the feeling that they thought there was a lot more going on then there really was. It is really just a long boring Angels and Airwaves music video.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: