One never quite knows what to expect of an SF movie that’s won a lot of festival awards.
A few, yes, are great classics.
Some seem to have won not because they were great, but because the other nominees were worse. Perhaps the competent, if rather modest, Alien Raiders comes to mind.
Simple. It’s because they are so strange or outrageous that they stand out from the herd like a Madras zebra.
As you may have guessed, this is one of those.
It’s hard even to summarize Magnetic. Most of those I’ve read seem to go beyond what we actually see on the screen – perhaps relying on the press releases to tell them what they’d just seen.
Admittedly, I find it hard to blame them.
We start with a young woman being evicted from her apartment and taking a job at what appears to be some sort of hidden lab complex beneath a barn- a sequence which plays out wordlessly, and without our ever seeing another person. But before long it becomes surreal, with a girl in a spider mask, dire references to a deadly solar flare, dancing sheep and the world’s worst job.
And most of the film plays out in the same way, gradually letting us understand just what is happening while burying us under yet more weirdness. It is a tribute to the writers that it all makes sense in the end…
It is strange, even beautiful at times, full of arresting imagery – and a lot of things that make us wonder what the hell they were thinking. Ultimately, it does deliver a strong SF story, although it may be a little hard to see that under the images of girls in fuzzy sheep masks. This isn’t a film for the faint of heart – and even the most adventurous may find it too strange.
But, if you’re willing to accept it on its own terms, it is worth a view – at least for the diehard SF fan.
Assuming the world hasn’t already ended.