Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: In the distant future a female astronaut shipwrecked on the long-decimated Earth must decide the fate of the wasteland’s remaining populace.
Review: There’s this movie called Outlander starring Jim Caviezel. It’s sort of a sci-fi/fantasy mash-up where he plays a man sent from the future to the past to destroy an alien monster who has escaped. It’s a hidden gem of a movie in this humble fan’s opinion and it’s the movie that came to mind while I was watching Tides. Now both films don’t have much in common, other than a stranger trapped in a strange world who is then forced to fight for their survival and maybe learn something about themselves and their new world in the process. But this is a sci-fi trope that I’ve loved since I was kid and as they say, if it ain’t broke…
This German-Swiss Sci Fi thriller was written and directed by Tim Fehlbaum and stars Nora Arnezeder (Army of the Dead) as Blake and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù (His House) as Tucker. They’re astronauts and descendants of an elite branch of humanity that left Earth and colonised Mars when things inevitably went to hell. But due to reasons we aren’t really given the “Martians” have lost their ability to reproduce, forcing them to send explorers back to Earth to see if they could find a cure there. When their spaceship crashes (because of course it does) Tucker and Blake quickly realise that not only is the now waterlogged Earth home to animals but there are still humans here. Men, women and, most importantly, children.
The first thing I enjoyed about this movie was the visuals. It’s the not-too-distant future, so don’t expect lasers or hoverboards. Instead we get a more realistic (and a bit terrifying, if you think about it) look at what Earth might look like if the polar ice caps melted and most of the surface was covered in water. No, it’s not Waterworld (the horror!) but it is a bit like Mad Max with the stronger, better-armed humans raiding and enslaving the simpler ones who seem to survive by scavenging whatever they can find. This isn’t a pretty world to look at but the cinematography, with its beautiful wide shots and muted washed-out hues, does a wonderful job of selling Earth as an almost alien planet. The lighting from the sun is also dim, as if it’s setting against a low tide. And there’s also a mist that covers everything in a haunting fog. The main strength of Tides definitely lies in its cinematography.
The two main locations shown give you a clear sense of how different the lives of these two warring factions are. There are the humans who barely even speak English anymore. Their clothes look like rags puled from wherever they could find it and everything around them is wet all the time. Then there are the ones who utilise old ships to move around and live in what appears to be a derelict oil rig. It’s a damning look at how difficult it can be for humans in general to let go of their prejudices and how (for want of a better word) dumb it is to think we would STILL be killing each other in a situation as dire as this one when working together towards a better life would be the most sensible course of action.
Great cinematography combined with solid performances by the main cast do a lot to elevate this small budget Sci Fi film into something much more. Familiar faces such as Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Sebastian Roche (Batwoman) show up, with Glen turning in a performance that’s a mix of his much-beloved Jorah Mormont and his villainous Dr Isaacs in the Resident Evil franchise. While Roche’s screen-time is not as long, it’s no less significant. The pacing also worked well for me, as it gave the story room to breathe and gave us time to get to know this world a bit and learn about our lead character. But if you go into this looking for sci-fi beat ‘em-up action, you might be disappointed.
Another aspect that’s lacking in the film is the emotional connections. For a movie that explores themes such as parenthood, abandonment and familial bonds, I never felt like these people had deeper connections to each other. Tonally the film would shift between thriller and drama but it’s the dramatic elements that just don’t hit home the way they should.
Despite these weaknesses, I still found myself enjoying Tides (also known as The Colony). And if, like me, you’re also a fan of the whole stranger-stranded-on-strange-world trope, I think this might be worth a look.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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