Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Written & Directed by: #LukeArmstrong
From director Luke Armstrong, Solitary is a sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian future. Prisoner Isaac (Johnny Sachon) wakes up on board a space pod, to find he's been condemned to life on Earth's first colony, and there's no way home. As he wakes, he is greeted mysteriously by Alana (Lottie Tolhurst) and, together, they must work through all odds to correct a course back into Earth’s atmosphere.
Adapted from Armstrong’s short film of the same name, Solitary pushes the boundaries within a modest budget, proving that with great skill and determination, any idea can be made a reality. From the Hollywood inspired visuals to the fantastic minuscule cast, Armstrong’s ability is incredible, writing and directing a small scale narrative with finesse, contained like your favourite bottle episodes of Star Trek. Carrying the film from beginning to end is no easy task for both Johnny Sachon and Lottie Talhurst, but they’re clearly interested in the project and take special care when exploring their characters. By the end, both of them feel fully situated within the story and have their own personalities developed.
With cinematography expertly handled by Jack Booth, each frame looks utterly stunning. Beautiful lighting just scraping the edges of the space pod set, as it slowly passes by the sun. The visual effects look incredible for a small budget film — the explosions taking place on the exterior of the pod look and sound sharp. One of the key elements that particularly leaps from the screen, is the synth-driven score by Vince Cox. Having worked with Armstrong many times before, their budding chemistry is very much alive and ever-growing in this film. Supporting the delicately lit scenes is an atmospherical bed of sound, moving alongside the story, acutely placed. Fear, regret, anticipation, are all present within the music, making Solitary feel even more rich.
Filmmakers have been exploring the space setting more and more over the years, and I believe the experimental Kubrick epic 2001: A Space Odyssey is a huge reason why. The camera techniques, visual trickery, and eerie ambience presented in 1968 was a giant step forward for cinema. We’ve seen films take it further and further, referring to the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and the intense Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Now, Luke Armstrong strips the genre back to the basics. Solitary is a remarkable film.
Watch the trailer for Solitary at the link below: