On November 2, 2020, Netflix will add a great sci fi thriller to its rotation – 2018’s Prospect by creators Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell. What makes Prospect great?
By now you must realize I’m a huge fan of Dust, A Gunpowder & Sky Company. With Prospect, Dust blends both science fiction and realism to produce a coming-of-age film of pure story. Forget the usual narration and flashbacks so many sci fi movies rely on. By eschewing these oft-used approaches, Earl and Caldwell created a movie that viewers easily find themselves immersed in.
If you want to check out more from Dust, check out these posts:
- I Watched 10 Hours of Dust’s Sci Fi Shorts. Was It Worth It?
- Last ‘Human’ Wakes to Frightening Apocalypse in Epic Podcast by Dust
In this coming-of-age sci fi thriller, Cee (Sophie Thatcher) joins her father Damon (Jay Duplass) on his latest last-ditch, get-rich-quick scheme to a remote moon called “The Green” to mine the precious gem aurelac. Damon and Cee are “floaters”, petty interstellar scavengers taking what jobs they can to pay off their falling-apart space ship.
The movie opens with Cee reading the mission’s information sheet while listening to music. She realizes they risk desertion on the moon if they don’t make the final ‘sling’. They must reach a transit satellite back to the known universe.
Her frustration with her father shows. Damon doesn’t share the final sling info with her before committing to this mission. In the same scene, Damon drops a few drops of liquid into his eyes, presumably a narcotic. The conversation turns to Cee’s dead mother and living on a planet.
Their relationship seems quite distant, yet they also seem tethered to each other.
The primary conflict of the movie comes down to Damon’s desire to strike it rich versus Cee’s realistic sense of urgency in not getting stranded on the moon forever. It’s bad enough the space ship and all the equipment appear run down and on the verge of breaking. Now Cee has to convince her father to act fast to make the return trip.
Things almost immediately go wrong for the duo and Cee alone must make choices for her survival.
Would you rather own Prospect? Buy it on Amazon
Prospect’s Cast and Performances
The Mandalorian star actor Pedro Pascal plays Ezra, an opportunist anti-hero space cowboy that Damon and Cee meet on the moon. Pascal speaks with a Texan-like accent using unexpected eloquence and verbosity.
There was an event with my crew concerning a bit of aurelac, and words and metal flew. And now I don’t (have a ship). We’re in the same trough, you and I. Can’t say I was pleased to find your mare all black and cockways, as she was supposed to be my redemption, as well.-Ezra, speaking to Cee
Sophie Thatcher’s character Cee comes across as dispassionate at times, yet quite intelligent. Thatcher shows a talented display of both confidence and timidity that often shows in youth. Her decision to stow away her emotions about the death of her father to focus on her own survival is difficult to portray. Yet, Thatcher’s performance is undeniably spot-on.
The movie’s amber overtone blend perfectly with the precious amber gem aurelac. A dense forest, reminiscent of the woods of northwestern US, is made alien with floating debris and underground biological life that produces the aurelac. Gritty uniforms worn by all characters in the movie provide a rawness to the film which combines with its pure story focus on realism.
Prospect began life with a Kickstarter-funded short film at its SXSW debut in 2014. It followed up that appearance in SXSW with its feature film premiere in 2018’s SXSW. That year it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award). In an interview with Ars Technica, Zeek Earl (also Prospect’s cinematographer) described the crew’s world-building theme as “throwing stuff away.”
(We developed a) Wikipedia of sorts …We totally have ideas for how the economics work or how the government works for places not even mentioned.”-Zeek Earl speaking about world-building for Prospect
Like its space western film predecessors (Star Wars, Cowboy Bebop, and Firefly just to name a few), Prospect flawlessly combined two genres that go together like peanut butter and jelly. The sci fi thriller by first-time writers and directors Zeek Earl and Christopher Caldwell succeeded where so many other low-budget films failed.
It’s hard to believe Prospect is Sophie Thatcher’s first feature film. She performed like a veteran of Hollywood. Pedro Pascal gives yet another memorable performance to his already legendary resume: Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Narcos, The Mandalorian, and most recently, Wonder Woman 1984.