"takes an original approach and contains many elements of which can be admired"
With a very small cast, a handful of locations and weighty themes, Native manages to be both a slight and yet ambitious science-fiction film. It’s not entirely successful, but takes an original approach and contains many elements of which can be admired.
It opens with Cane (Rupert Graves), on what turns out to be a spaceship, informing mission control (and the audience) that ‘a problem has arisen’. Quite what, will become clear later on, but the effect on him is evident. It’s an emotional opening, compounded by a terrific performance from Graves.
It soon transpires that Cane and his co-pilot Eva (Ellie Kendrick) have a telekinetic connection and are on a mission from their hive-like society to visit a distant planet, with deadly intentions. Cane however, starts to feel the pull of home and becomes distracted.
The pair both appear to be people, but the lack of emotion suggests they are otherwise. It is here that director Daniel Fitzsimmons tackles the important sci-fi theme of what makes us human. Cane’s pull to a life at home seems to soften him and make him more humane, as does his love of the classical music which plays in the ship and his desire to mark art on a piece of broken glass.
This running theme is key to the films central idea, but it does result in the other worldly dialogue distancing the viewer from the film emotionally. As Cane gets starts to focus on other things, the audience may begin to associate somewhat. There is a lack of plot development too which doesn’t help, as the film has a start and an ending, but oddly struggles to find a middle.
It is however all tied together with a fantastic score that veers from 80’s synth to the aforementioned classical overtones and the two central performances work well. It’s slight nature and somewhat distant feel mean it doesn’t engage or linger for too long afterwards, yet it has enough ideas within to suggest a positive future for those involved.