‘Vesper’: Another commitment to medium-budget science fiction that succeeds in its mission


Practically since cinema is cinema, science fiction has always tried to discern what future awaits humanity. Specifically, the post-apocalyptic futures that the genre imagines usually place the human being at the center of the catastrophe, guilty of the evils that devastate the earth, whether due to a natural catastrophe or a pandemic virus. Within this subgenre, ‘Vesper’ has been the latest addition to a long list of medium-low budget sci-fis that have proliferated in recent yearsas is the case with ‘Prospect’ or ‘A quiet place’, to name a couple.

At the controls is Lithuanian Kristina Buožyt? and the French Bruno Samper (from whose collaboration ‘Aurora’ emerged in 2012) in a co-production between Lithuania, France and Belgium that has been reaping successes throughout European festivals, with a special stop at the last Sitges Festival, where it was nominated for best movie.


‘Vesper’ places us on a completely devastated Earth. Their ecosystem collapsed and now the small population that survives (and can afford it) does so in the so-called Citadels, gigantic octopus-shaped infrastructures that house wealthy people, while the rest are relegated to battered cabins or wandering in search of scrap. At the center of the story we have Vesper (Raffiella Chapman), the girl who gives the film its name and who must seek her life to keep her paralyzed father (a bedridden Richard Brake) alive, who transmits her conscience a small robot that floats in the air.

The Buozyte and Samper film displays its greatest strengths from the very beginning. On the one hand, a remarkable worldbuilding that bets on practical effects, prosthetics and models instead of an abuse of CGI that tarnishes the elegant final result. For the other, a spectacular photograph that brings out the gloomy and disturbing of this dystopian planet Earth, highlighting a very interesting use of lighting and colors. However, ‘Vesper’ absorbs influences from here and there that, although it allows him to form an interesting thematic scenario, leads him to suffer some defining consequences: he has serious problems finding a genuine style.


concoction of influences

From those opening credits that are so reminiscent of those of ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Vesper’ will deploy over its footage a compendium of elements, visual and narrative, that will sound to the average viewer moderately versed in science fiction. A pubescent protagonist looking for his reason for being in a fantasy world is too reminiscent of ‘The Neverending Story’ to ignore it, although his aesthetic drinks much more from the recent ‘Dark’. As in ‘Stranger Things’, the main character will meet a girl with powers (Rosy McEwn) who spurs her desire to help and rebel against the establishment. The villain and uncle of Vesper (Eddie Marsan) moves between some interesting grays since he tries to exploit those below without really being part of those above, so he represents that man’s desire to want more and more.


The paths that follow the plot of ‘Vesper’ are rather typical, using genre tropes like those saving seeds that represent the natural as opposed to the artificial or that talking android that serves as a sidekick and a voice of conscience at the same time. All this is followed by some rather tedious explanations about some scientific research that will save the world and that ends up entangling an attractive but cumbersome worldbuilding.

In short, ‘Vesper’ is a commitment to the most artisan sci-fi, visually powerful and with a polished finish defined by the physical, by the real. Although precisely by taking great references of the genre it falls into somewhat annoying familiarities, The film manages to reflect on problems in our reality such as the climate change alert, how broken the social elevator is, or even the sterile promises of a promised land for those who have the talent but not the inheritance.. A science fiction that engages with social issues and presents such overwhelming photography can be forgiven for any other minor ‘but’ that may arise.


The best: Very successful photography and practical effects that evoke a great worldbuilding

Worst: There are overly familiar echoes that he uses as an influence.

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