This is a gentle, warm and soothing movie, some sort of journey into the dreamy world of a teenage girl. There are nuclear rainbows, unicorns and giant babies flying around. And everything is colourful: from the blue dyed hair of a friend to the clothes, the walls and lights beaming from the sky. Welcome to the strangely charming world of the cyber-goth Lucidia, played here by the beautiful Alexa Davies.
There’s also sadness and mourning infused in all the bright colours and lights. The teenager lost her mother seven years earlier in a swimming pool accident, although it’s never entirely clear what really happened. Her father Gabriel (Antti Reini) is still struggling to move on, and he remains partly alienated from his daughter. He often makes utterances and speaks to himself in Finnish, emphasising his estrangement from those surrounding him. When Lucidia fakes her own abduction by aliens, he is forced to engage with her exotic friends obsessed with mythical creatures and outer space action.
Spaceship is narrated from multiple perspectives, and the story isn’t entirely linear. It’s willfully disjointed, like the mind of the highly imaginative teen. The fast editing, fragmented dialogues and kaleidoscopic montage contribute to a strange feeling of alienation. Conversations about the limits of reality and illusion serve to confirm that not everything in the film is quite what it seems. Both adults and teenagers are searching for a greater purpose, and they are unable to relate to each other along their journey.
Supported by an indie soundtrack from lesser-known artists, Spaceship is overall a pleasant experience. It feels a little bit like a film made for a music album by Saint Etienne: essentially British, fun, easy digestible and calming. It also feels very feminine in its sensitivity and abstractness, despite being directed by a man (Alex Taylor). But not everything is perfect. The manneristic aesthetics subdue the storyline. There’s a very interesting twist in the end, and yet that gets a little diluted in the incandescent lights, fluorescent paint and luminescent clothes. Sometimes it feels you are walking inside the Cyberdog store in Camden instead of watching a film.
This is not the only recent British film about difficulties that different generations have to communicate. The superb The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach, 2017) also deals with the topic, if from a much less abstract and dreamy perspective.
Spaceship was out in cinemas in May, and it was made available on all major VoD platforms on July 10th.