Alien Outpost instantly sets itself apart from other science fiction films with its tone, in a way the film plays closer to Band Of Brothers than Starship Troopers. Not to say that the film is self important or arrogant but that its far more grounded in reality... with aliens, of course. The film is a "documentary" so we have interviews with the soldiers cut with the main action of the film. Its an effective and economic way of propelling the narrative forward without the need for clunky exposition. The characters can freely discuss what they are thinking about in a scene or give you their back story in a non distracting way because of documentary style.
|North (Matthew Holmes)|
Another way this film stands out is the remarkable cast. You have seen these faces before but it might take a moment to place them. These were clearly actors chosen for their talent and how well they would work together as an ensemble. Joe Reegan is an actor to watch, his performance as Omo is truly dynamic. Omo is flawed without being irritating and firmly rooted in an authentic way, I never felt like he was over the top and there were plenty of opportunities for his character to slip into that area. In the hands of a lesser actor the film could have easily fallen apart.
Director Jabbar Raisani got his start in Visual Efffects and it shows. I couldn't believe how good the film looked. Not just the special effects but the camera work, costume design, locations and props are all top notch. This looks like a really expensive film. In the same way District 9 felt like a big budget summer movie Alien Outpost feels like a large scale sc/fi film that would feel right at home in any multiplex smack in the middle of June.
Raisani is clearly a gifted visual artist who has the ability to get great performances from actors in a movie that could have easily been played for laughs. The ability to balance both the acting and the visuals without compromising either is a rare talent.
Alien Oupost will be released in theaters and on VOD through IFC Midnight on 1/30.