The dawn of a new homeworld and a journey of discovery awaits in director Neil Burger’s Voyagers, but even millions of light-years away from the Earth we can’t escape our humanity and the animalistic urges that drive our behaviour.
Set in the future, the film chronicles the odyssey of 30 young men and women who are sent deep into space on a multi-generational mission in search of a new home. The mission descends into madness, as the crew reverts to its most primal state, not knowing if the real threat they face is what’s outside the ship or who they’re becoming inside it.
Writer-director Neil Burger takes audiences on a dark and foreboding journey into the corners of the human soul in Voyagers, a clever and intense tale of isolation, desperation and madness, and the result is a piece of sci-fi that will have you on edge from beginning to end. Drawing inspiration from the works of Joseph Conrad and William Golding, Burger explores ideas of tribalism, fanaticism and individuality and this pulse-pounding science-fiction story doesn’t stop for an instant. The film’s narrative allows Burger to keep the intensity up at all times and with the stakes as high as they are, i.e. saving the human race aborad one vessel, the idea of what happens when our base animal nature takes over is sure to have you on the edge of your seat.
Led by a terrific young cast including Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn Whitehead as Christopher, Sela and Zac, three lifelong friends who in the sudden void of space and the onset of the sudden rush of euphoric urges are thrust into a dangerous position of life and death. While Sheridan showcases a strong stoic authority, it’s Depp and Whitehead who shine out in the film. As the film’s female lead, Sela, Depp brings a keen intelligence and sharp survival instinct as she sees the chaos evolving around her, while Whitehead’s Zac, who finally accepts the chip on his shoulder unleashes a murderous intensity and he makes for a very scary psycho in space.
Burger’s approach to the film’s subject matter and the exploration of the sudden rush of suppressed urges is explored in a very interesting way throughout this film. Set in the fluorescent-lit, sterile environment of the spaceship that Christopher, Sela, Zac and the other colonists call home, the sudden rush of feelings they have never felt before, including joy, aggression, jealously, lust and madness make for a very interesting juxtaposition, and as the film’s narrative moves forward things get crazier and crazier by the moment. Burger uses Voyagers to explore the idea of humanity at both its best and worst, and it’s a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end.
For those seeking a film that will take them all the way from A to Z in a single sitting, Voyagers is the movie you’ll want to check out. This is an intense science-fiction thriller, grounded with terrific performances from a talented young cast, and it definitely makes you sit up in your seat.
Image: Universal Pictures