Puzzling Sci-Fi Thriller
OtherLife, an ambitious sci-fi offering directed by Ben C. Lucas, covers a lot of territory. Although the acting and production values in this indepent film earn high marks, a confusing flow of the story seems troublesome. The movie follows the struggles of Ren Amari (Jessica De Gouw), a highly intelligent young woman who has developed an amazing new drug that when delivered into the eye “expands the brain’s sense of time and creates virtual reality in the user's mind.”
Ren faces many obstacles including: disagreements with her partner (T.J. Power); an unexpected death from the drug prior to its launch; her brother’s comatose situation; outside interference by officials interested in using the drug to help solve prison overcrowding; and her own inner turmoil. A couple of Ren’s experiences under the influence of OtherLife are depicted with stunning visual effects.
De Gouw (These Final Hours) succeeds in making Ren a memorable character. Because of her fine performance, we understand Ren’s strength -- and vulnerability. We want to cheer for her, but too much of the time we’re not sure what’s happening is real. And that means we hold back.
If these drops are put in your eyes
what happens is a big surprise.
You may think it’s been a full year
when it might be a minute, dear.
“OtherLife” drug makes memories
and would bring wealth to companies.
Could it be worth betrayal, too?
Not for a sister tried and true.
She fights for time to find a cure -
not for money, her partner’s lure.
Can she save her dear brother’s life
despite pressure and intense strife?
This sci-fi film is hard to view.
What’s going on? I have no clue.
Too jumbled up with mixed time jumps.
Sad -- it left me down in the dumps.
With OtherLife, promising Australian filmmaker Lucas (Wasted on the Young) chose a fascinating idea for exploration in his second feature film. And he worked on the script with four other writers. In this case, is it possible that too many cooks spoiled the broth?
I’m the most optimistic guy about Virtual Reality. I have crazy visions of what we’ll be doing in the future. Once you have perfected Virtual Reality, what else are you supposed to perfect? --- Palmer Luckey
(Released by Netflix; not rated by MPAA.)
For more information about OtherLife, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.