Beyond shows that science fiction films don’t have to be action spectacles with a big Hollywood budget. Joseph Baker and Tom Large’s film is a low budget affair that keeps effects to the bare minimum, putting the focus on character and emotions. It’s an artsy little British movie that, while not 100% successful in execution, raises enough questions and delivers unique genre ideas to make it worth watching.
The film follows Cole (Richard J,Danum) and Maya (Gillian MacGregor), a couple who meet just as an asteroid is heading towards earth. The planet waits with bated-breath only to discover it’s about to come under attack from an extra-terrestral force. The set-up may sound more like Armageddon or Deep Impact, but Baker and Large’s film has more in common with Mike Cahill’s low-key sci-fi drama Another Earth. The pacing is slow and the fractured time line skips back and forth between the present and past, showing the lead characters at different times in their relationship.
The film’s main flaw is set-up in an opening robbery sequence that sees a shop assistant being shot during a hold-up. It’s an unnecessary and contrived plot-line which leads to a last act twist that doesn’t come together. This is a shame because there’s enough good elements in the film which could have been expanded.
Beyond shows that interesting science fiction films can be made on a budget. This British production is a cut above most UK genre films, giving it a visual sheen that makes it come across as classy and complex. It’s a slow burning sci-fi movie – so don’t go into it expecting Independence Day.