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In this genre-bending psychological sci-fi thriller, a bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening, and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father's protective and paranoid control.
I saw this movie a few days ago at an advance screening.
What you immediately notice is the unique visual and musical style. The crew have used 11 cameras overall: there are news reportings, YouTube videos, archive footage, etc. on top of the traditional "actor" scenes. Yet, all these are interwoven with beautiful and visually intriguing transitions. This visual ingenuity extends all the way to the credits, making it one of the few films where the audience attentively sat through the credits. The music is also not your usual Hans Zimmer score. Rather, they opted for an electric, industrial, out-of-this-world soundscape that suits the film perfectly.
Then there's the plot which, for the most part is a dramatized layer on top of the original message of Lem's novel. The protagonist's (Csaba Polgar) search for his father is enjoyable and kept me interested throughout the almost 2 hr runtime. I was also busy trying to understand the symbols, which this film is as rich in as you'd expect. More surprising is the presence of some well-placed humour, delivered primarily by the protagonist's wheelchaired brother (portrayed by Adam Fekete).
My major grudge against the movie are the space scenes. First of all, the visual tricks are not up to 2018 standards, and I'm not comparing to the $100m bluckbusters here. With a budget of almost $4m, I expected more. The low quality of the space suits and the lack of artistic touch strengthens the B-movie feeling of these scenes. Luckily, there are not many of them.
Also, I felt that the plot was too simple. This may have been intentional, i.e. to keep the focus on Lem's deeper meaning and the many symbols. Still, I felt that some more twists could have added to the excitement without sacrificing the philosophical side.
Overall, His Master's Voice is well worth a watch if you like throught-provoking pieces with unique artistic solutions. After the screening, the director said he was only afraid whether the movie could convince the audience to search for and keep thinking about deeper meaning. I, for one, can say with certainty: Yes!
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