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Fractured Horizon [Lucas Coyte, UK, 2018]

If you're going to explore the galaxy, make sure you planet.

Lucas Coyte’s Fractured Horizon is quite the spectacle to behold. Light on narrative and entirely free of dialogue, the film is ostensibly about a lone explorer escaping from a dying star, but Fractured Horizon is mostly an exercise in visual and sonic experimentation. Every frame of this sci-fi short intensely bursts with fluid colours and abstract patterns that dance across the retinae in balletic sequences, and clearly take inspiration from Douglas Trumbull’s mind-popping special effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, US/UK, 1968) and The Tree of Life (Terence Malick, US, 2011).

The short succeeds largely due to its minimalist approach, the most we ever see of the main character is in extreme close-ups of one eye, shots of which are interspersed with images of planetary bodies and swirling, effervescent vapours simultaneously conveying the elemental simplicity and chaotic complexity of the universe’s beautiful and volatile structures. But what lends the film its true visual quality is the fact that everything that appears on-screen was shot ‘in-camera’ and without CGI additives.

The score is brilliant too. Ryan Taubert’s ‘Bayt Lahm’ is urgent and audacious, Zimmeresque in its powerful dynamism. ‘Killer’s Mind’ (Bob Bradley/Harrison Stanford) is a haunting composition that helps to create a nervy and claustrophobic tension through dissonant strings and pulsating percussion. And David Kelly’s ‘Oort Cloud’ gives release and clarity by way of gentle choral harmonies.

Mixing all of these elements together, the resulting compound proves to be an incredibly accomplished and epic short film, all the more impressive because this is a student work. Here we definitely have a star in the making…


You can now watch Fractured Horizon on FLTV

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