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The Signal: The Start Of Something Good

October 4, 2014

the Signal movie poster

The Signal does a lot with little. It is a visual marvel that plays like Safety Not Guaranteed met Moon and they teamed up with District 9, Chronicle, The Matrix and Dark City. Regardless of the comparisons The Signal stands on its own as a sign of talent on the rise. It has an earnest ambition and confident direction that is rare in such films. Jason Concepcion of Grantland nailed it when he said:

The Signal is a movie that never quite transcends its influences. And that’s OK — it’s partly what’s interesting about it. How many flawed sci-fi movies are worth your attention? I can’t think of many, but this is one. It’s a movie that thrills with its ambition despite not hitting the target.

The Signal actors

Shot in thirty days for $4 million, The Signal focuses on three MIT students who take a detour on their way to California. On their journey they come in contact with a super hacker named NOMAD who wrecked havoc on the MIT servers. They track down his signal and it leads to a dingy shed that is the cover for a sterile research facility. Things go haywire and the rest of the film follows Brendon Thwaite’s (Oculus) character Nic as he endures Laurence Fishburne, wheelchairs and a whole lot of odd.

To say more would wreck the fun of the film. I knew nothing about The Signal other than the Grantland article and it helped the experience. I’m not entirely sure if it is cohesive and might simply be gobbledygook. However, you like the three actors and Thwaites and Olivia Cooke have a lived in chemistry. The Signal is eye candy in which the sparse desert and sterile research labs have never looked better.

The signal Cooke

William Eubank directed the movie and it comes from a place of film appreciation. He learned his trade at Panavision and wheeled and dealed his way into making this indie. It reminds me of a low-budget cousin of Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion. The Signal and Oblivion are visually spectacular and they landed on the 54-55% rotten scale on Rotten Tomatoes. They were called out for borrowing heavily from other films but were redeemed because of their occasionally beautiful moments.

The Signal

The Signal is proof that Eubank has grand ambition. Hopefully, he develops his own voice and creates original worlds that stand on their own. The science fiction landscape will be a better place when he can create original stories that look beautiful. I’m hoping he will have his Moon, Source Code, Looper, Primer or Monsters soon.

 

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2014 1:27 pm

    It was an interesting piece of sci-fi that we don’t too often see. Even if the ending was a bit bizarre, it was still effective enough cause I was on board for so very long. Good review.

  2. October 5, 2014 7:20 am

    This is on my to watch list 😀

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