The mood of Alex Taylor’s Spaceship might be characterised by one line: “Most of the kids around here think they were abducted by aliens”. A group of British adolescents with oddly posh accents bite each other’s arms to drink blood and engage in as many unorthodox activities as they can conjure. A girl with blue tresses (Tallulah Rose Haddon) has a master/slave relationship with her boyfriend, who wears a collar and behaves like a dog – and she blithely states “I’m just a bit bored with kissing humans”. Like a contemporary Alice in Wonderland, these kids inhabit an alternate universe, speaking often about rainbows and unicorns and dropping acid, yet all with casual apathy.
Lucidia (Alexa Davies) is traumatised by the unexplained swimming pool drowning of her mother, whom she describes as “a Barbie doll on speed”. One day her friend Luke (Lucian Charles Collier) witnesses Lucidia’s abduction by aliens, the truth of which is mysterious. Waking up in an army barracks, not knowing how she got there, she clearly believes she was abducted. Throughout the entire film an ambiguous aura prevails, whether to simply portray vivid teenage imaginations or possible drug-induced hallucinations.
It is apparent that not only the youth are fanciful in this movie. Lucidia’s archaeologist father (Antti Reini) seems in a perpetual state of chimerical contemplation, digging all day in the earth that he says “communicates”. After his daughter’s disappearance, he wanders throughout the film in a kind of trance, seeking answers by mingling with her friends, stepping into their bizarre world.
Escape is a major theme – through fantasy, drugs, and suicide – as is non-conformity, daring to be different, doing what you really want to do – because life is beautiful, painful and open to interpretation and questions. With a nostalgic wink to teens being teens and laced with tongue-in-cheek humour, the piece doesn’t take itself too seriously, however.
The narrative is quite nonsensical – like a series of dreamlike impressions – but highly experimental and philosophical. Although incongruent and meandering, it is with a purpose, as it is very atmospheric, about feeling – portraying well through its craziness a sense of how it is to be an adolescent. Using unusual, vivid cinematography, the work is a daring journey into younghood and highlights the lure of escapism in a challenging, confusing, sometimes bleak world. As a mood piece Spaceship is poignant, evocative and thought-provoking.
Spaceship is released nationwide on 19th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for Spaceship here: