All is not what it seems – UFO review

20 Dec


Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 11.42.02

Nowadays, when you think of a low-budget British film, you’d normally associate the term with some form of Hackney based, gang culture film not too far from the likes of Kidulthood, or My Brother The Devil. That genre is slowly declining and new ambitious film-makers are stepping outside of that particular box to try their hand and something new, and sci-fi film UFO provides a refreshing break to that mold.

Director Dominic Burns brings to the big screen a small budget sci-fi movie with hints of Transformer-esq effects in this tale of human survival during an invasion of those not of our kind. The great thing about this film, and perhaps the misleading element from the poster is that the story is not directlyScreen Shot 2012-12-20 at 11.44.51 about ghoulish looking creatures from a universe far far away, but more about the reaction from humankind amidst tragedy, invasion, and imminent destruction.

To show a sample study of how the world may react, UFO focuses on a group of friends who, after a night out on the tiles awake to find that the end is nigh. Lead by Michael played by Sean Brosnan (the look and sound-a-like to his father Pierce) this small group of friends take under their wing Carrie (Bianca Bree – the not so look or sound alike to her father Jean Claude Van-Damme) who after a one night stand seems to have become Michael’s latest squeeze and an immediate addition to their circle of friends. The film follow’s how each of the characters react to the present situation and to each other at a time of crisis, and as the story unfolds, even within their close knit circle, things really aren’t all what they seem.

You have to commend this film for its bold storyline and yet intimate portrayal of its characters. This is a character study and not a Hollywood action film. The aliens are secondary in the plot, but you can understand the distributors point of view as to what marketing would be more likely to put bums on seats. Where the budget has been spent on the effects, you will see that they are well done, and carefully thought about, and not just a gimic to behold.

The director has also thought carefully about the portrayal of certain heightened sequences, such as the supermarket in Derby where the cast manage to break in through a side door to stock up on supplies before the rest of the public. In the same breath in which you think the characters would take as

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

they burst through the doors and quickly gathered what they needed, the audience follow them in what seems to be a ten minute tracking shot which never leaves their side. This helps keep the tension at an all time high as you seem to be in there, experiencing every moment with them.

In addition to this, the fight scenes are excellent, with one standout showdown between Michael and a police officer. Again, like the single tracking shot through the supermarket, you as an audience member get a sense of tension throughout this sequence, which in places almost verge on becoming ultra-violent. The choreography is commendable here and you definitely get the sense that this is a real fight, where the characters are getting naturally exhausted, and don’t just keep going for the sake of it. In a strange way, this section is probably the most natural bit of acting you will see throughout the film.

Unfortunately the problems that do arise in the film, are not anything to do with its ambition or technical ability, it’s with the performances. The beginning of the film seems like a warm up until the actors can really settle into their roles and even then, you just don’t quite believe them. Bianca Bree is the most natural in delivery and reaction, you believe her in most instances, and for a leading lady in this case, less really is more. Sean Brosnan allows you to forget that he served in the army at a high level as he loses the assertiveness of a commanding officer until he is provoked for a fight scene or the like, and his imbalance is somewhat problematic. However,

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

sadly it is the support cast that for me let this film down. The drunken scene at the beginning lacks maturity in its performance, and feels contrived and over acted plus the difference between relatively new on-screen actors and seasoned professionals such as Sean Pertwee and Jean Claude Van Damme becomes very apparent when their cameos appear on-screen and in an instant steal the show.

However, that being said, its great that a film maker like Dominic Burns is taking chances on unknowns and mixing them in with more experienced performers. I’m sure the actors will watch and learn from their performances here, and go on to do bigger and better things, and I’m a great believer in British film nurturing new talent in all shapes and forms.

So if you are planning on watching UFO when it hits selected cinema. Enjoy it for what it is, an ambitious project from an ambitious film-maker who has created something away from the expected low-budget British film genre and pushed the boundaries of budget and technical ability. For all its faults, it’s an enjoyable, engaging film, commendable on a number of different levels.


3 Responses to “All is not what it seems – UFO review”

  1. Shayne Whelan February 19, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    I like this review, i literally just finished watching the film, i searched Google for a “plot-line” the film may have not represented very well, I don’t know if you have noticed this but, at the end as the camera pans back from what seems to be the moon, or Earth, maybe, not likely however because its grey… we see a bunch of orange lights similar to the shots fired by human military forces, and we see the alien ships look as tough they are either playing cops and robbers, or fighting one another seriously, we also see a huge ship rotate with a distinctive look entirely opposite than the ones we have seen before hand, it could not have been the mother ship because on Van Damme’s radio we hear them say that the mother-ship survived their attacks, but, the film is obviously present set and we have not developed gunships or any type of warfare that would fire at spaceships in space so fueled forward, so is the director forgetting his own concept and just assuming we will understand two different alien races are at war or does he expect us to believe that the same gunfire we see from the house were it all began for the 5 friends can smash from within our atmosphere outward to space at equal momentum? another point i noticed was the drawn out scene of Dana the worse actress in the entire movie, were she is alone in the dark house using the flashlight and the video camera to look out a door, she drops the camera and we see a disfigured alien-like hand, for no reason whatsoever? why was it there, why did it hide and watch and why that house was so important to the alien i do not know. there were many unexplained happenings, and most of which was explained held no reasoning or logic, the only catcher was the strategy the aliens used, do nothing, watch us destroy ourselves, why was the alien police officer trying to kill a little girl? why was he in a drug store dressed as a police officer when a pharmacy jacket would have given him better disguise and why was he even there? and the aliens became an entire, human-like strategical unit of military standard immediately upon the newscast of the Alien Kerry, why? why not use their obviously more efficient tactics and why target a group of 5 or six people who held no power over anything to do with a chain of command on the side of humanity. why did young Brosnan’s character decide to mention his discharge for know reason at all before his death with a supposed alien whom of which the sudden confession would have made no difference or have affected the scenario in even the slightest bit, i think the director took this movie in a complete and utter wrong direction, it was brilliant story wise right up to the point were the alien police officer was introduced, the homeless/tramp guys input was directed at Sean Brosnan’s character yet no mention of why he new, how he new or exactly what he new, if the director had not have went the route of “bodysnatchers”, and “V”, in a poorly done concept of passive take-over ruined by aggressive fight battles in which human fighter planes are not even visible, just many orange lights firing at the alien ships of which were in the hundreds, the idea of Van Damme’s daughter Bianca Bree’s character holds no substance either, she had sex with Brosnan’s character at the start, so she’s an alien, who finds a bunch of “unimportant to an invasion scenario” friends, fucks one of them, tags along nearly dying a couple of times, helps save a child, kills one of her own kind to save Sean Brosnan’s character only to shoot him in the head, take Dana as a hostage and let her go, after proving she can kill without hesitation? then she gets beamed up to her little ship, goes on national television to broadcast posing as human that the war and battle has been won by humans despite it still going on outside, she does this in the midst of a more aggressive war, during which a sky filled with alien life is being thorn a new arse pipe by the aliens….i mean. really? i fully agree with alot of points you made, but the director, scriptwriters, all of them should have noticed around the point before the introduction that they could go a different way and make a better film as the first half was actually good, with the exception of the acting by the girl who played Dana, the director deserves no artistic credit, he’ botched and slaughtered a good idea, and the writers much the same. i appreciate what the film could have been, but the totaling of inconsistency and lack of logically routed story telling places this film in the realm of movies like those spoof films made by 6 of the writers of scary movie 1 and 2, like “Disaster movie” and “Date Movie”. brutally executed directing, brutally executed story telling and a kick in the face to a movie that could have been more even on a low-budget.

    • naaanoname May 17, 2013 at 4:37 am #

      Allright i think i know some of the answers but still iam looking for some too lol. this isnt a movie its more a puzzle lol

      so what ife understand they tried to kill the little girl because she know how to identify them. thats why they went after the others too.

      if i understand right, they went after their technology in first place like those miracle radios. so thy want first their radios back, second get rid of any wittness that they can be identified.

      well more or less, ok that those tactics and stuff are BS is clear they wanted to make a movie not a 5 minute earth is burning sequence lol (well i would have spared us a lot)

      still i dont get what those 2 ships do at the end or where the toehr ufos came – really earth forces? well yea it looked like 2 aliens fight each other or something like a big enterprise came there fight the alien mothership.

      well at the end everybody got executed … but what bothers me is
      where in hell did they ever knew thsose marks show aliens. i mean if thats the only difference how you could ever find out.

      and if you have those like human spies why you need that fleet for scavanger action on some radios. and why they NEED a mark. yea that movie doesnt make any sense, not even remotely

      or what i didnt got, when the girl ran out of the house in the rain she looked at their hands like something awefull raining down (not water more like tom cruse looked when he saw the terraformers spreading blood and stuff) – so first i thought uff some kind of humans peaces raining down – but no simple water – why she looked straight up after staring at her hands?

      na i have to stop and keep looking for someone who has an explanation in the web lol … alllright i addmit i believe i would find a real alien first bevore that happen lol

      • naaanoname May 17, 2013 at 4:39 am #

        ps heres a story twist that would make sense of course isnt the real story, the other aliens fighingt with us are that one we saw (the hand on the phone), bad aliens hunting em,.. osmeting like that lol

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