A man spends years alone on a space station orbiting Earth after losing communication with Houston/Earth. Time is spent on maintenance, exercise, watching old messages and reading a journal by a soldier in the American civil war 1864.
A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Early in the movie, while in a motel room, an old b&w movie is playing. It's 1959s Teenagers From Outer Space. See more »
The visual of Damon's face in his helmet keeps changing from normal to enlarged, as if the face-plate and side-plates are magnifying his head. They really are magnifying his head; the "glass" in these helmets is thick and irregularly curved, which causes a lens effect. That really is Laurence Fishburne wearing one on screen, and not a special effect. See more »
Nic, I offer to help, not because I think you need it, but because I know you don't.
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An impressive film school exercise but not quite a movie
"Visually arresting, methodically paced, and almost perfectly executed" says another review here. I agree and would add well-acted, produced, and directed. But it still doesn't quite make it as a movie, something with a real story that is effectively delivered and is more than the sum of its strung-together parts. Each scene is fine, but they just seem like a string of episodes rather than a coherent story. One has trouble getting the point and is left somewhat confused and unsatisfied, with the final twist more baffling than impactive. I would say that the words "inchoate" and even "incoherent" can't help but come to mind regarding the film.
Before you write me off as someone who only likes nice linear films where EVERYTHING is made perfectly clear and who can't handle anything unusual, abstract, metaphoric, or different in any way, compare "Signal" to "Dark City", the recent "Under the Skin", and even "THX 1138" (which BTW arguably has a lot of similarities to this one).
Meanwhile, for examples of films that have similar problems as "Signal", see "Citadel" (2012), "Critical Nexus" (2013), and even "Shuttle" (2008) or "Blair Witch Project". I would argue, tho', that most of these, whatever their flaws, are probably more effective at delivering a real story than "Signal". MEANWHILE, to see what a low-budget independent sci-fi movie CAN be, see "Moon" (2009).
Finally, I was just reading a review of "Signal" in which the reviewer mentions another director who started out with a middling low-budget sci-fi film and has gone on to bigger and better accomplishments; he sees similar potential in the director of "Signal". I fully agree. Again, I think "Signal" was impressive and well worth seeing, but doesn't quite make it to the level of a real and effective movie.
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