Hollywood has long accustomed us to noisy and obscenely expensive sci-fi blockbusters, in which something always explodes, blackouts, roars and moans like the Dnieper is wide, and leads to catastrophic consequences. But sometimes there are inconspicuous, but noteworthy representatives of the genre. They follow a completely different path, categorically ignoring all this high-budget nonsense, because instead of them, the viewer is offered something completely different. “Chronicles of Vesper” is just one of those. In the review below, we tell what exactly the authors of this tape are trying to win over their viewers.
“Chronicles of Vesper” / Vesper
Genre science fiction drama
Directors Christina Buojite, Bruno Samper
Starring Raffiella Chapman, Eddie Marsan. Rosie McEwen, Richard Brake, Melanie Gaydos
Release year 2022
Nothing good awaits humanity in the future. Due to experiments with GMOs, it will be forced to fight for its own survival, because the Earth will succumb to an ecological disaster. As a result, the rich will settle in safe and well-protected cities, which will be called citadels, while everyone else will lead a miserable existence, which consists in the eternal search for meager food and at least some resources.
A 13-year-old girl named Vesper lives in a forest shack with her paralyzed father, with whom she communicates with the help of a special drone, monitors the health of an intricate device that supports her husband’s life, cooks some disgusting slurry with recently caught maggots and shows flair to science
In addition, the child dreams of getting to the citadel someday. Once in the forest, Vesper stumbles upon a young, unconscious blonde, whose body has already been sucked by parasitic plants to drain the life force. That noble girl saves the suffering one, although she has no idea that this meeting will be fateful for her.
“Chronicles of Vesper” is the result of co-production between Lithuania, France and Belgium, as well as mostly the fruit of the imagination of the Lithuanian Kristina Buojite and the French Bruno Samper. This is not the first joint work for them, so the new story is far from the usual Hollywood blockbusters, although it has absorbed some of their artistic tropes.
On the one hand, the film falls under the genre of teenage dystopia multiplied by post-apocalyptic survival, and on the other, even with a view to a fairly typical plot, it is something very far from the conventional “Hunger Games” or “Mad Max”. It is obvious that here we have an author’s project, which prefers dialogue scenes over special effects and filming in the fresh air, rather than in a dusty room with green walls.
At the same time, despite the very modest budget of 5 million euros, the whimsical world here, especially the plants, looks very interesting, reminiscent of something between the mesmerizing Zone from Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” and the gloomy works of Hans Rudolf Giger. True, the plants, as well as poisoned mold that spreads like ice in Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, Darth Vader’s heavy breathing in one scene, and some amazing scenery – that’s basically all the fantastic that appears in the frame.
In everything else, the events take place in completely familiar scenery, one might say, even deliberately poor, given the miserable state of the world in which the heroes are forced to exist. The problem of “Chronicle Vesper” can be seen in the fact that the film lacks an expressive author’s statement, and the long dialogues, from which it is not a sin to doze off unintentionally, do not lead to something so that this fiction can be considered not just to some extent attractive, but also truly outstanding.
Conversations here generally do not lead to anything. Yes, in terms of content, this movie seems more serious and complex than, for example, a mainstream dystopia like some “Alita. Battle Angel”, where the main character, albeit with a different goal, also sought to reach the unattainable elites. However, here even the slightest hint of the development of an important thought that runs through the plot as a thin red thread is difficult to compete with the all-consuming sadness that suggests a leisurely, almost meditative narrative.
Undoubtedly, the performance of the British Raffiella Chapman can be called a significant achievement, because while Richard Brake extremely professionally portrays a motionless vegetable, the young talent gives a very confident reincarnation. At the same time, Chapman has an unusual appearance: a little young Milla Jovovich, a little, perhaps, Uma Thurman, this actress has every chance to achieve good achievements.
Melanie Gaydos was also seen in the frame in a cameo role – she is a woman with a rare genetic disease, who can be seen in the horror film “Astral: The Last Key” or in one of Rammstein’s clips. The audience will definitely remember the scene with Melanie.
“Chronicles Vesper” clearly stands out from a number of typical representatives of the genre, tries to think about environmental problems, and also touches on the theme of motherhood and teenage experiences. But all these conversations, squeezed into a science fiction setting, have no reason to reach the bereaved viewer.
Pros: excellent and even somewhat inventive visuals, good acting by young Raffiella Chapman, beautiful soundtrack, excellent genre product Cons: unnecessarily tedious and terribly drawn-out narrative, lack of a master idea that would be well revealed Conclusion:
After the final credits, it’s hard to get rid of the thought that the authors missed something, because they could have realized the existing potential better. But the proposed material may also be of interest, although getting through it will prove to be another challenge