Otherlife Review

OtherLife (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier 


Director: Ben C. Lucas
Writers: Kelley Eskridge,  Ben C. Lucas
Stars: Jessica De Gouw,  Shalom Brune-Franklin, Thomas Cocquerel

Plot:  After inventing a drug that induces time-compressed virtual realities, young Ren grapples with partner Sam over how to use their powerful creation.

Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes

IMDB Score: 6.3

Why I watched it: All I knew going in was that Jessica Du Gouw was in it, who I like, and that the plot description.

Thoughts: This was an Australian film, low budget but high concept.  Now I will warn people it’s fair to call this Sci-Fi but the only thing that is Sci-Fi is the idea they use to transfer memories.  It’s not even set in the future so much.  It tries to be science based rather than fiction based.

What I liked: I liked the idea, I like when a movie makes you think makes you wonder what you would do.  The main idea of being able to do virtual reality but inside your brain, they drop this liquid into your eye and you experience things, like rock climbing or snow boarding.  Also they mix a thriller element into as well, the old power struggle between partners.  They also use a kind of Inception type gimmick, so we don’t know at times if we’re in a virtual reality or the real world.  This movie makes the audience do the heavy lifting, with the science and the plot at times.

I liked the look of the film and the direction was good, it was well shot, very vivid.  For what the director got out of this low budget is impressive.

The acting is good but it’s De Gouw’s film she’s pretty much in every scene and she carries the film, her character is tricky at first cause we only see her through her job or her creation, she’s really the only character in the film that is fleshed out and she has some issues to deal with and she’s pretty much put through the ringer, she carries the emotions of the film and also the action that’s in it as well.

What I didn’t like: I hate picking on a film that tries to much cause so many films don’t even try but this film gets very muddled and it’s clear why it’s two different movies, the first movie which seems to be the focus at first is a scientist trying to create something that can break her brother out of a coma, she’s trying to do this with her virtual reality formula and the other movie is the thriller the battle with her partner and that pretty much takes up over the second half of the film.

The two films fight each other, also the “science” here is muddled and at times silly, so they use code and they record memories then print them into a liquid that they then pure into one of your eyes then you experience the memory. That seems overly complicated to feel something.  They say it’s not a drug and then it can be a drug plus they use this way of telling the story where De Gouw’s character is talking to a table full of people trying to get it approved, I think, and they cut that part in between the other scenes and it gets confusing.

The main problem with the thriller part is the villain, the evil partner, he’s a walking cliche and is so over the top, he screams, he yells, it’s about the business making money, really you have a hard time figuring out how these two became partners and yes they don’t give us their backstory. Also the supporting characters are plot devices for the most part and really have names and not much else.

Final thoughts: The odd thing with this film is a liked it for trying and also I thought the Sci-Fi element and the is this real part worked pretty well, it was very slow until we got to the action part.  I think this might have worked as either a more personal story or as a more fleshed out thriller.  It’s not a total wash but it’s a frustrating movie at times.

Rating: 6/10

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