Precognition [App for Life] (2018)

This was one of the selections from this year’s Sci Fi London Convention.  Now as I’ve noted before, many of the most interesting Indie films have shown there including such impressive efforts as ResolutionYesterday Last Year, Avalon, and Nydenion.  So it is generally a good sign if a film becomes one of their official selections.

Now, I’ll say this right up front:  Precognition is one of those films which starts out with a series of seemingly unconnected events and takes a while to let the audience see how they are all connected.

I’ll confess that I enjoy movies that take their time revealing their mysteries, and which require a certain amount of effort to try to guess where all the pieces are going to fit together.  But, if you are expecting something more straightforward, which doesn’t ask anything of you, this isn’t the movie for you.

Instead, this is a complex mystery thriller, set in a densely conceived future, where there is a lot more going on beneath the surface than we see: a complex web of secrets; a hidden past; and the true character of the people involved`.

It is a seemingly perfect world, where the Retina corporation’s technology ensures that everyone is happy.  So why is ordinary married man James having little flashes of disturbing images if his Retina chip is functioning properly?

I often spot the unexpected twists in these sorts of films long before they arrive, but there are several stunning revelations here which caught me by surprise. — and yet are intimately tied into the real story lurking beneath the illusion created by Retina.  It is impressive how well it all fits in together — and that this is a decidedly character driven story.

It all ends with a curious twist, , which carries the story in a vastly different direction from what we expected — although I should note that it is still a satisfying ending and avoids the sort of nihilism that makes everything we just saw a sad joke.

I do have to note one minor reservation about the film — while most of the film flows nicely, it seemed to me that it bogged down a little at about the three-quarter mark.  This might be because it spends a little too much time on purely subjective imagery, although I’ll admit it might have a little to do with the fact that I had to stop the film for a few minutes at that point.  Either way, it seems to me that a little tighter editing in the last quarter of the film wouldn’t hurt.

But this really doesn’t distract much from a movie which revolves around ideas and characters, and makes good use of some of the familiar cyberpunk themes.  Precognition is well worth a look for anyone hoping to find intelligent science fiction — or, for that matter, an SF story where character actually matters.

And we all know how hard those can be to find.

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