Dallas Independent Film Festival Review: Orion

Dallas Independent Film Festival Review: Orion

The post-apocalyptic setting in film is nothing short of a very tired, overdone cliché. The trick IS, if you cannot say or do anything original, borrow from something else. However, IF you are going to borrow from something else, you had better make sure that your form is up to par. This goes beyond the technical aspect of moviemaking, though. There is depth and emotion and proper adaptation. Ironically, adaptation seems to matter a great deal in the world of human rejuvenation.

Orion” is NOT original in terms of its setting, but there IS certainly a twist in the story-telling aspect. The inspiration is not just limited to Christian symbols, but also expands to the realm of pagan symbols. Unlike “Knight of Cups,” you do not need to be educated or at all familiar with these subjects to understand the story. The filmmakers have taken the time to inject sharp cuts in the plot with darkly colored cards, containing pertinent information about the pagan story of the birth of Orion, the purported savior of mankind, in the midst of worldwide hardship.

While the information is helpful, the story is still difficult to follow. There is very little dialogue throughout and the sharp cuts are NOT just limited to the story cards. Yes, the images are consistently graphic and quite disturbing. At times, it is hard to determine exactly what the moviemakers were trying to convey.

The strengths of “Orion” are in the solid fundamentals of cinematography and the acting performances of the main trio within the film: David Arquette (“Bone Tomahawk”), Lily Cole (“Gravy”) and Goran Kostic (“The Last Days on Mars”). Other performances include: Terri Partyka, Jimmy Doom, Lisette Miller, and Sophia Findley. It is worth pointing out two things about the acting performances. Firstly, David Arquette showcases some impressive physical abilities as an actor, unfamiliar for many of his fans and viewers. Secondly, one presumption of THIS movie is that with the implosion of natural human society, there would be a regression not just in the living standards, but also in something as simple as speech and communication.

At the end of the night, “Orion” is artistically well done, but under-executed from a story telling point-of-view. It makes enough sense by the end of the movie, but for the majority of the film, it drags and may fail to keep widespread viewers’ attention. I applaud David Arquette’s performance, but the story is relentlessly dark and troubling and simply NOT exciting enough and consistent enough to be advisable for most moviegoers. “Orion” is not the worst post-apocalyptic film I have seen, but it is far from the best.

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