Tropic Image


By Benjamin Franz | November 30, 2022

Science fiction is fertile ground to explore the effects of pollution on the environment and human beings. Director Edouard Salier’s Tropic, which he wrote with Mauricio Carrasco, is such a story. It’s about twin brothers who are Spanish immigrants to France. They enroll in a 2040 space program. In France, most people are educated and trained through High School. Only the truly exceptional are offered the opportunity, through a series of tests, to matriculate into college. Here, we have two strongly athletic, mathematically minded young men who are destined to be astronauts together. At least, that was the plan.

At a lake, the twins, Tristan (Louis Peres) and Lazaro (Pablo Cobo), are practicing their ability to retain their breath underwater. However, when a green cosmic rock crashes into the lake, it directly affects Tristan. An organism invades the man’s body with a host of alien bacteria. This bacteria mutates Tristan, crippling his mind and making his body super strong and fast.

The mental deterioration of his brother weighs heavily on Lazaro. He has been planning, hoping, and expecting to serve as an astronaut alongside his extremely charismatic twin. But, as it becomes clear Lazaro will be the only member of his family to experience outer space, great drama unfolds.

“…invades the man’s body with a host of alien bacteria.”

Tropic is a French New Wave approach to science fiction. Present a dramatic situation, and while keeping it terrestrial and bound to France, highlight the drama unfolding from the science of the story. The green rock which crumbles, dilutes, and pollutes the otherwise pristine lake is truly scary. The film leans heavily into the environmental trope to demonstrate the lasting damage man-made or even alien artifacts can have on our environment.

Unlike many movies I have had the pleasure of reviewing for Film Threat, this is created by a consummate professional. Salier is no stranger to motion pictures or television. Throughout the 110-minute runtime, there seems to be a smooth, almost imperceptible hand guiding this story. The cinematography is crystal clear, and the angles selected are engaging. The lighting feels natural, giving a sense of hyperrealism to the scenes. This is not a superhero or even really a monster narrative. This is the tale of a family fractured by a freak accident, a scenario that tragically happens all the time. That cosmic rocks are usually not involved is where the fiction enters the story.

The rapid deterioration of Tristan is hard to watch. However, Salier handles it humanely and with great care. It was Tristan’s desire to be a part of the Eternity project, the space exploration mission both he and Lazaro are training for. In a very sentimental scene, Lazaro brings Tristan a memento of the project: the hat for the crew of the Eternity.

Tropic is, at its core, a tale of brotherly love. It’s a wonderful experience, whether you speak French or need to read the subtitles. It’s masterfully crafted by a great cinematic team and reminds me of the glorious films of the French New Wave. Seek this movie out when it comes to an arthouse theater near you.

Tropic (2022)

Directed: Edouard Salier

Written: Edouard Salier, Mauricio Carrasco

Starring: Pablo Cobo, Louis Peres, Marta Nieto, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Tropic Image

"…seek this film out..."

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