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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

May 21, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Max Pearce
Written by:
Max Pearce, Maria-Sara Santoro
Rene Leech, Dor Gvirtsman, Jane Casserly, Ross Turner

In a futuristic world where genetic engineering has expanded, a young aerospace engineer goes through the demanding process that will hopefully lead to her dream job.


Selene (Leech) lives with her mother (Casserly) and they are struggling to make ends meet. One reason for that is because science began creating genetically engineered humans, capable of performing tasks more efficiently than normal people. Hoping to make things better for the two of them, Selene decides to apply to become part of the first space colony, which is headed by Fred Rusk (Turner), who is the father of her friend Fabrizio (Gvirtsman). Fabrizio is genetically modified and is also planning to go to the colony. Selene must overcome the obstacles and reach her goals.


Produced by students at the University of Southern California, this interesting short dystopian sci-fi drama has similarities to the 1997 science fiction film Gattaca, as they both have plots that deal with genetic engineering and pursuing one's dream. The screenplay effectively creates a world where simple humans are being pushed aside in favour of people who have been 'designed' to be better and it provides examples regarding how natural people suffer as a result of this scientific advancement. The main focus are the theoretical and physical tests that Selene has to pass, in order to qualify for a position in the colony. She works very hard and even utilises biological technology. The narrative also explores the effects that her application process has on her relationship with Fabrizio.


The mise-en-scene contains elements often seen in the sci-fi genre. There are brief scenes that take place in space, extraordinary buildings and peculiar devices such as a bionic arm and a device that attaches to a person's back. Praise goes to Sonya Berg for working on the costumes.


John Burroughs Hanle develops beautiful cinematography and David Myles Lewis makes a great contribution with a score that is dynamic and dramatic. Recognition also goes to the closing credits.


The characters are well-explored and Leech is likeable as a strong and intelligent individual who is determined to achieve her ambitions in a world that is being dominated by genetic engineering. Casserly does a good job as her supportive mother and Gvirtsman is convincing as Selene's friend, who in some ways becomes a rival.


From start to finish, this film is an intriguing viewing that includes themes regarding family, friendship, support, never giving up and the consequences of genetic engineering. It will most likely appeal not just to science fiction fans, but to those who appreciate good storytelling and character development.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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