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DVD Review: ‘Love’

★★☆☆☆
Unashamedly taking its cues from past existentialist sci-fi classics such as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Duncan Jones’ Moon, William Eubank’s debut feature Love (2011) would certainly like to see itself placed amongst such majestic company. Unfortunately, despite some lush visuals, Eubank doesn’t quite provide a satisfactory narrative (or even a coherent chain of lofty ideas) to pin his grandiose aesthetics onto. Whilst great things may lie ahead for the cinematographer-cum-filmmaker, comparisons with past cornerstones of the sci-fi genre overshadow – rather than flatter – this flawed first outing.

After losing contact with Houston-based control back on Earth, lonesome astronaut Lee Miller (American actor Gunner Wright) becomes stranded in orbit alone aboard the International Space Station. As time (years, we’re lead to believe) passes, and the Space Station’s fragile life support systems begin to expire, Miller faces both a mental and physical battle to not only keep his composure, but stay alive. Encroached upon by vivid visions of past memories/lives, our isolated protag seemingly drifts between time and space, and ever forward into an uncertain future.

Beginning with a well-crafted sequence set during the American Civil War – complete with grizzled Confederates and cannon-fire – Eubank leads his audience on a merry chase through ages and eras, always at his best when trying to get across what little narrative there is as visually as possible. The scenes set aboard the Space Station (constructed on the director’s parent’s driveway) have been meticulously designed, with pizza bags and washing machines just two of the materials reputedly used to construct the blinking, floating mass of metal and synthetics. Sadly, what actually occurs in this wondrous space is of relatively little consequence, and anyone who’s seen Solaris, Moon et al will feel more than at home with the weighty – yet poorly explored – themes at hand.

Commendable for its glossy veneer, make-do-and-mend production design and delicate Angels & Airwaves score – but for precious little else – Love may well prove an effective calling card for Eubank, a filmmaker clearly well-versed in the technical artistry of video production. Whether or not he can make the leap towards creating something truly cinematic (rather than a stunningly shot, yet narratively wanting tech demo) remains to be seen.

To read our interview with Love director William Eubank, simply follow this link.

Daniel Green