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By Mark Bell | August 18, 2014

Warrun (Damion Hunter) peers up into the night’s sky, cynically aware of how alone in the universe humanity is, regardless of whatever his sister Alkira (Maurial Spearim) might think, or his culture might believe. When he and his family are suddenly abducted by aliens, however, he learns just how wrong he is.

Proclaimed as “the first sci-fi to star Indigenous Australians,” Oscar Nicholson and Josh Bryer’s Kindred excels in the visual effects department. The imagery aboard the alien spacecraft is superb, and the interaction between artificial and real blends together well.

The actual aliens, however, aren’t quite as convincing. They still work, but whereas everything else feels polished and accomplished, the aliens often look like people in alien costumes. It makes for a startling juxtaposition, but had they been all CGI, for example, perhaps they’d be equally out of place, or worse. It was a calculated creative risk, and again it doesn’t completely fail, but it does standout considering the other technical achievements of the environment.

On the narrative side of things, you could probably interpret this one in a couple of different ways, depending on how literal you want to get with it all. In that way whatever ambiguity I might sense actually works to the film’s benefit, as it extends the ideas beyond the simplistic “cynical guy who thinks humans are alone in the universe is wrong.”

Overall, Kindred made for a visually appealing experience, and I applaud the effects work. The pacing is on point, as is the sound design, and the film is generally technically strong. Engagement with the narrative will vary, of course, and maybe the aliens will take some out of it more than they affected me, but you can’t deny that the filmmaking is sound.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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