Re:View – ‘Love’
Now that anyone can create a movie in their parents’ garage and upload it, there are a lot of stilted, dreadful films about that nobody watches. ‘Love’ may have been shot this way and while it’s not without its flaws, there’s something perversely wonderful about it.
Directed by William Eubank and produced by electro-band Angels & Airwaves, who supply the elegant soundtrack, the prologue is set in the American civil war as a young soldier is charged with remaining alive as his battalion goes into battle. Later, we find him sent on a mission to investigate a crashed alien ship.
After losing contact with Earth, Astronaut Lee Miller (Gunner Wright) becomes stranded in orbit alone aboard an international space station. As time passes and life support systems dwindle, Lee battles to maintain his sanity – and simply stay alive. His world is a claustrophobic and lonely existence, until he makes a strange discovery aboard the ship.
In the final section, he docks with the once crashed module to discover its purpose and find the true meaning of life, which is love.
Eubank the cinematographer is more adept at creating breathtaking images than in telling a cohesive story, but there’s just enough plot to keep you hooked here. Stunning scenes of battle and life above earth are all the more effective when we know they were created on a shoestring. Comparisons with the much more epic ‘2001’ are clear – the three sections, the lone mission, the marriage of music and image, the slow takes, the final light show – but the centre section is repetitive and rather too protracted. Eubank does not attempt to link the sections, leaving that to the viewer, but the technique pays off.
Wright’s performance is exemplary, considering he has no-one to react against in the entire running time. Even so, there are moments when the film feels like a string of music videos tied together – it doesn’t have the cohesion of Duncan Jones’ slightly similar ‘Moon’ – but the film throws up enough questions and haunting images to make you think about it after. If we think of space as a place for introspection (‘2001’, ‘Solaris’, ‘Sunshine’) ‘Love’ can take its place beside them, even though the climax is hard to decipher.
If Eubank becomes a little less tentative about what he hopes to achieve, we have a major SF director to look forward to. I think it’s relatively easy to understand what’s going on here, but it’s a very beautiful film, whatever you make of it.