- Written and Directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell
- March 10, 2018 (South by Southwest)
After her father is murdered on a distant moon a young girl’s only chance for survival is her father’s killer.
Prospect features a father, daughter, some creepy settlers, and even more dangerous outlaws. There are no saints as everyone has something that makes them less than pure. That is usually minus ten points right there in my opinion but this rises above that issue by the characters being the way they are because they lead a tough life. They have motivations that are not based around them being horrible examples of humanity. At least not completely horrible examples.
A father (Jay Duplass) drags his daughter Cee (Sophie Thatcher) to prospect for gems in the far reaches of space. There is a bit of a ticking clock here as the father and daughter have under five days to complete their work before the line is shutdown and they are stranded. How FTL technology works is fuzzy and we get no explanation why this line is being shut down or how it functions. Long story short, they run across Ezra (Pedro Pascal) who kills her father while trying to rob them.
While Cee’s father is driven a bit by greed as well as making a living, Cee does not seem to understand that this is how her father makes money even though prospecting has been an aspect of her life for a very long time. She comes off as a bit whiney. I get being upset at the risk of being stranded but upset over him doing his job?
Pedro Pascal has made a bit of a career as of late by helping children get from Point A to Point B. There is The Mandalorian, The Last of Us, and then this. But here he is and probably the least virtuous of any of these characters. His character here is a murderer and thief who goes through some growth after being paired with Cee only out of necessity. This forced dependance allows him to become a somewhat better person. Ezra goes from uncaring to someone that begins to experience their humanity. Cee must grow up quickly to function in a dangerous adult world.
Prospect is no budgetary behemoth. This is on the small side and makes the most out of what it does have by focusing on the characters and the drama. There are no miracles and no exceedingly happy ending. These are two people whose trust grows reluctantly because one needs the other to get home before they are stranded on a toxic world. They encounter religious settlers, mercenaries, and have a beautiful yet hostile environment to contend with as they race against a clock to find some way back to their or any ship.
There are minimal special effects in Prospect. Rather they let you know that this is a future world with costuming and with environment. More importantly this is not a shiny world but rather a rough and lived in reality. Everything is just dirty which gives it a futuristic working-class look.
The directing is excellent, and the performances are fantastic. That is especially necessary since the film is mostly Ezra and Cee. The mercenaries and settlers are in the story for a relatively short time in comparison to Ezra and Cee. Pascal and the young Thatcher develop a very paternal dynamic and develop a genuine connection.
Prospect is an interesting bit of science-fiction. It’s not big budget space opera but rather a small character piece. Though dialogue heavy and effects light, it is very good. I recommend it.