“In the Future, No One Makes Sense”

A Prometheus Review

It’s hard to look back at Ridley Scott’s films and find some connecting thread. While his brother sits back and makes “Neo-Noir as Moving Instagram” over and over again, Ridley has avoided any obvious gimmicks, or even loose thematic threads connecting his films. His strengths are circumstantial. He has a ridiculous attention to detail and a strong relationship with his actors (he’s directed several Oscar winning performances). But it’s Ridley’s chameleon-like directing style makes him the perfect choice for any science fiction film. He’s competent enough to pull off the vision without letting his own bag of tricks get in the way of the concept. So it should be no surprise that Prometheus is well directed. The visuals are striking, the pace accelerates from pensive to explosive at an exponential rate, and the acting is riveting and drenched in emotion. But for all of Ridley’s sound and fury, there’s a troubled script underneath it all that seems to signify nothing.
It seems on the surface like there are a number of masterfully dramatic personal moments, all building towards some elaborate mystery, but by the time the final curtain is lifted you look back and realize that there was no mystery building. They just wanted to show you all those great dramatic moments. The trick was finding some sinew to connect all the emotional beats and unfortunately the connective tissue is really weak. Fassbinder’s terrificly obtuse android is great but his motivations flip every other scene. Watching Noomie Rapace bounce from one unspeakable terror to the next is loads of fun, but after a while you can’t help but wonder “why is she doing any of this?” To which Damon Lindelof answers, “Because you want to see Noomie Rapace freaking the fuck out in her underwear.”
To which I can only answer, “Yeah. I really do.”

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