MOVIE REVIEW: ANTI MATTER is the Anti typical Sci-fi movie
American release date: September 8, 2017.
Directed by Keir Burrows.
South African born writer and director, Keir Burrows’ newest movie, Anti Matter, is a smart and visually exciting masterpiece of science fiction and classic film noir that grabs your interest and doesn’t let go until the very last scene. The kind of film that made fans like me love the sci-fi genre.
Anti Matter is the story of a young scientist named Ana Carter played by Puerto Rican-born actress, Yaiza Figueroa. The film opens with Ana running a series of experiments on atoms when she suddenly stumbles upon the means to send an atom from one location to another. In effect, Ana has found a viable means of teleporting matter. Ana quickly enlists the aid of her friends Nat, played by Tom Barber-Duffy and a computer hacker named Liv, played by Philippa Carson.
The trio begins teleporting molecules, but quickly moves up to more complex objects such as marbles and then plants. When the trio discovers that they will soon lose their extra server capacity, they rush right into human experiments.
Ana herself becomes the first human to be teleported. After she is successfully teleported from one side of the lab to the other, Ana starts to have gaps on her memory. She cannot remember things that Nat and Liv have told her and their behavior is suddenly cold and even hostile. Ana begins to think that her friends are hiding something from her when she discovers that the storage closet in their lab is suddenly locked for no reason. Then someone in an ape mask robs her apartment, stealing her laptop and some photographs.
Becoming more suspicious of Liv and Nat, Ana starts to believe that they are out to steal her work. Ana also finds herself harassed by an animal rights group that is camped outside of the lab. Some of its members are even wearing the exact same ape mask as the person who broke into Ana’s apartment.
The only string of sanity Ana seems to have is her regular phone calls to her mother, but even these become strained when her mother mentions things to her that Ana is supposed to have said in her last phone call home, causing Ana to suspect her mother is part of the conspiracy against her.
Anti Matter is a movie that seems inspired by Christopher Nolan’s classic mystery Memento, where the hero must tattoo details of his wife’s murder on his body because he has lost the ability to form and retain new memories. In some scenes, Ana writes notes to herself in a small notebook, but soon she can’t remember what some of the notes mean. That’s not to say that this is a rehash on the same theme. Burrows goes to great lengths to make the theme fresh.
Burrows also makes the science in the film seem plausible. Fans of hard science sci-fi will enjoy how Burrows makes the science of teleportation seem both real and viable. There’s no dramatic lighting effects like on Star Trek. When Ana is teleported it’s more of a “now you see me, now you don’t” moment. There’s even one scene were Liv talks about other applications for the teleporter technology that would make creators of Star Trek kick themselves for not thinking of years ago.
Another thing about this movie that stands out is background. Burrows makes the London city streets that Ana walks back and forth, a supporting character that has something to add to the story. In many ways Burrows’ use of location reminds me of how John Carpenter filmed the Antarctic landscape in his classic sci-fi horror The Thing, or how Orson Wells shot Citizen Kane. There’s something ominous that causes the viewer to keep watching in case something major happens.
Overall, Anti Matter is an exciting and satisfying science fiction thriller. Smartly done and very well acted. Yaiza Figueroa really sells us on her character of Ana, as a hardworking scientist and loving daughter who is just trying to make the world make sense to herself again. As her story arc progresses, Ana finds herself moving beyond the scientific and into a metaphysical world where she must ask herself what is the soul and does it have a mass that we could lose? You can’t help but root for her as she continues to struggle to find the answers she’s looking for.
One thing I will add is that sci-fi fans might start to watch this and think: “I’ve seen this before.”
Too which I say, you're wrong. The ending is both something you don’t see coming and yet makes perfect sense when you see it.
As for me, I am a confirmed fan of both Figueroa and Keir Burrows, both having delivered something special in Anti Matter. I hope I will be first in line for the opening of Burrows’ next movie. I really believe that people will be talking about him one day in the same way they talk about Christopher Nolan or Alfred Hitchcock.
Overall grade: A+
Josh Pritchett is a writer and movie reviewer for Movers & Shakers Unlimited. His latest story, The Babysitting Job: A Robot Repair Girl Story, is featured in the anthology, Brave New Girls Volume Two. Available on Amazon.