Based on the poster and the opening credits, Meteor appears to tackle a blockbuster end-of-world epic in the vein of a Roland Emmerich extravaganza with ariel shots of the impact of the space debris and its resulting global destruction. But after the meteor dust settles, writer-director Brett Bentman’s thriller gets intimate. It focuses on a lonely rancher whose solitary existence is disrupted when he spots a young woman anxiously dashing across his land.
When Liam (Robert Keith) returns home, he notices that the young woman sought shelter within his modest dwelling. However, Liam soon learns that Hannah (Olivia Nash) is injured and eluding a group of mercenaries pursuing the girl to traffic her to some even more unsavory individuals. When a trio of armed men appears on Liam’s doorstep, the rancher knows his deflection will only last so long. As such, he sets out with Hannah to search for a more permanent path to safety. Liam enlists the help of his old friend, Dr. Tracy (Allyn Carrell), who has been smuggling jeopardized individuals to various spots in the brutal new world in which they now live.
With echoes of Greenland, last year’s superior Gerard Butler-led disaster film, Meteor is not as interested in the pageantry as much as the people. We are provided precious little information of the global state of affairs but left to assume that all hell has broken loose and it’s every person for themselves. Bentman has been rather bountiful in his output, as this marks his sixth release in two years, many with the same small cadre of actors.
“…injured and eluding a group of mercenaries pursuing the girl…”
Robert Keith has starred in four of the filmmaker’s previous films. The actor has been in show business since the 1980s with bit roles in films such as The Mask and Wild Bill. He is center stage here, required to deliver long monologues in a single take. He traverses a range of emotions within that deftly balances his character’s resolve and conviction. In one scene, Liam recounts his wife’s passing to Hannah. The actor effectively conveys the pain of his loss while still exuding the rugged survivalist exterior that has kept him safe all these years.
Another standout is Thom Hallum as the heavy Zephyr. Hallum is another veteran of Bentman’s oeuvre and is quietly menacing as the neck-tattooed lead mercenary in pursuit of Hannah. His boyish face sits atop his bulky frame, adding the right amount of charm and menace to the role of the antagonist.
Despite its galactic title, Meteor is a simple tale of human connection and its crucial role in survival. The narrative does not find anything new to say, as the titular rock is the only thing groundbreaking in the film. That said, Bentman approaches the material with a steady hand and has roles for actors who lend each part a lived-in familiarity that gives the film its deepest impact.
"…Bentman approaches the material with a steady hand..."