REVIEW — “The Signal”
2014 has been a good year for Science Fiction. There have been a few good popcorn flicks, but there’s also been more cerebral offerings than we usually get. “The Signal” engages not just your eyes and ears,but your mind as well.
The film revolves around three college friends traveling cross country from MIT to Caltech. Best friends Nic (Brenton Thwaites) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are helping Haley (Olivia Cook) move to California but as they enter Nevada a hacker they have crossed paths with before contacts them. The hacker, known only as Nomad, nearly got them kicked out of MIT and now seems to be following their every move. To Haley’s disapproval the boys decide to take a quick detour to a remote area and confront the cybernaut. At this point the movie begins down it’s genre-bending rabbit hole of plot twists. To reveal anymore would be a crime.
What we can discuss in what it’s like to experience this movie. The “feel” of the film changes a few times. There are palpable shifts in tone and storytelling style that surprisingly feel incredibly natural. One scene in particular starts using the “found footage” look, but it feels -right-, and not gimmicky. There are also a number of extreme slow motion scenes, a technique overused in many action films, but here, it just looks so incredibly good. A few of them we wish would last longer so we could take in all the glorious details. Along with the tonal changes there are also palette changes that help orientate you within the film. The story is packed with details and visual metaphors. It’s a real treat for those who pay attention, and a far better investment than most other SciFi flicks that lumber through the theatres.
4 out of 5 stars