To describe the storyline of Tides might be a bit disorienting. The plot itself isn’t all that complex, but it will sound like a film that has been seen many times before. While the end result feels like a mashup of various scenarios and characters from other movies, it’s rather delightful that such an unashamedly genre piece has made the Berlinale lineup.
In the not too distant future, earth has become a barren wasteland, at the mercy of tides which temporarily recede to some degree, creating marshland which is immediately pillaged. Luckily, humanity (or most of them) has decamped to the Kepler star system, a mere 500 light years away. But the utopian Kepler is turning decidedly dystopian, especially as humans have lost their ability to reproduce. There’s hope that the conditions from their world are more accommodating for human reproduction. The first mission back to earth disappears without a trace, so it’s up to the crew of Kepler 2 to see if their home planet can ever be home again.
With its hints of Interstellar, Children of Men, Waterworld and Mad Max, this work comes dangerously close to intellectual property theft. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Mad Max (Tom Hardy, not Mel Gibson) come roaring through the mist or to see Kevin Coster’s ego sailing across the horizons when the tide comes in. Through it all, astronaut Louise Blake (Nora Arnezeder) must stay on mission, which might have been easier for her had humanity brought a selection of DVDs with them to Kepler.
The vagueness of it all becomes a bit tiresome. The timeframe of the feature remains unclear, although apparently humanity stayed away from their home planet for two generations (whatever that amounts to) and it will take some five to ten years to fly from Kepler to earth. This vagueness is intercut with some oh-so recognisable story beats.
As Blake, Nora Arnezeder creates a stoic, accessible character (no small feat given the flimsy material). And while the film isn’t quite lo-fi sci-fi, director Tim Fehlbaum doesn’t let any budgetary constraints get in his way, generally opting to keep the action as claustrophobic as possible, with panoramic CGI vistas of an earth destroyed by arrogance and indifference kept to the bare minimum. It’s not as though Tides is particularly bad, just exceedingly familiar in a way that renders it forgettable.
Tides does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Tides here: