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Sean and Alex go on the run after Alex encounters mysterious orbs of light giving her extraordinary powers. Fleeing a covert government agency, they find themselves at the center of an unprecedented event in human history. First contact.
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Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
If you're going to "read into" a story what might be intended, this film had a universe of possibilities. For example, the idea that those "beings of light" may have come into being at the "Big Bang", has implications most are unaware of. Could those beings of light be Devata, the forces of nature personified under Ishwara? Yeah, you see what I mean. What do you know about the Devata and Ishwara? An old Sadhu came out and proclaimed (YouTube, look it up) that "God is One!". Doesn't quite fit with the supposed "Pantheistic stable of Gods" erroneously attributed to The Vedic Tradition and therefore to Hinduism and/or Buddhism. Watch a video on YouTube, "Is Consciousness the Unified Field?" with John Hagelin. I think this film simply went over the heads of most viewers. From the mundane to the sublime, but we have lost the ability to recognize the pearls of the sublime, being... You catch my drift. Most people who watched this film didn't have to knowledge base that would enable them to appreciate it. But then, maybe I'm just "reading into" the story. In that case, it's good to have a lively imagination, but that, too, is based on the ideas that "Knowledge Is Structured In Consciousness" and because of that, "Knowledge Is Different In Different States Of Consciousness". KISIC/KIDIDSOC.
A young man named Sean ( Théodore Pellerin) has had a tough time picking up the pieces of his home life, after the death of his mother. After a party one evening, he is surprised to encounter a girl he has a crush on named Alex (Stefanie Scott), wandering around, not sure what happened the night before. Things get stranger when Alex finds that somehow, she has unusual powers that she cannot explain!
"At FirstLight" is a film that feels like writer/director Jason Stone is trying to pull off something different, but his experimentation feels a little sloppy for a film (maybe if this had been a 30-minute short it might have worked better?). Most surprising is how it looks like the film is going to focus on Sean, but then the focus shifts onto Alex. It is strange given how it feels like maybe something will really change regarding Sean's homelife, but the film never really sees to want to do much with that part of the plot.
The film seems to want to be a "mystery box" film that keeps us finding out new things and being concerned about our teenage leads, but it never feels like we get enough time to really care who these kids are...just a lot of scenes of Alex doing unusual stuff with her powers, then she freaks out and runs away with Sean close behind.
At the start, the film was starting to remind me a lot of the 2014 William Eubank film "The Signal," which also featured strange things happening to teenagers out in the middle-of-nowhere. However, despite "The Signal" having a bigger budget, "At FirstLight" managed to somehow be slightly better...but not by much.
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
Positives: ?? Negatives: 1. Dumbed down dialogue. No attempt to be even reasonably factually accurate. Usual cheap movie filler of overhead drone views of, well, not much. 2. A really cheap production aimed primarily to be understandable/relatable to middle school dropouts. 3. First cheap was a close up view of a compass swinging erratically as director holds magnet just offscreen. Suppose to represent alien weirdness (I suppose.) Government peoples are wearing cheap WWII type surplus store gas masks. 4. Usual moving lights in the upper atmosphere or beyond (not clear). Guy in pickup is able to track aliens w/hand held high school lab EM meter while the government w/all their high tech can't. 5. Usual communication to human by making them semi-conscious zombie like; walking for no reason down the middle of a remote highway. Scene done before; aliens must not be very intelligent to need that hook. 6. Usual human infected by aliens gives us nosebleeds (Why? Who knows.), and can levitate things & toss cars around, which is also a done before movie alien hook. How or why she acquires such skills - minor point. 7. Usual flashing house lights. Usual strange bird flocking behavior. Usual government conspiracy. 8. Worst science part! The aliens which are little balls of light arrive because we sent them a light message. Unfortunately the authors forgot that the message would take at least a few thousand, up to millions of, years to travel. Then the alien light beings would have to understand and take the same amount of time to Earth. Forget about the energy & space obstacle for them to travel. We determine that aliens have been around since the Big Bang, a script hook is not even worthy of being called dumb.
I really enjoyed this movie! For me, the characters and the initial settings had a fresh yet very genuine feel to them; it was really nice to step away from the "perfect suburbia" so many young characters seem to inhabit. I enjoyed the careful, slowly-building story, because it allowed me time to feel things and to question "What if," all while the unfolding mystery kept me hooked. Though, I suspect some moviegoers (especially those who enjoy the non-stop action in movies like "Transformers") might find the pace too slow for them. Finally, I thought many of the shots were beautiful, and the way the "big communication" (sorry, I don't want to spoil anything) was made near the end was wonderfully creative and exceptionally beautiful. I'll watch for more movies from this writer and director.
I don't like to reveal the plot in a movie review, although anyone who reads other reviews will get the gist of it. I will say that the acting was excellent, the plot very good, but I had a hard time getting through the beginning. Other parts I thought could have been more exciting. Still, a good watch.