WHITE SPACE (a.k.a. Beyond White Space) ***** U.S.A. / Hungary 2018 Dir: Ken Locsmandi 94 mins
In the year 2150, the interplanetary fishing vessel ‘Essex’ is boarded by pirates and the crew left with few provisions. To recoup their losses, the captain makes the dangerous decision to go after a legendary space creature responsible for the death of his father. Director Ken Locsmandi and writers Ryan Colucci and Clay McLeod Chapman have created an exciting science fiction adventure film. The plot of “White Space” is an homage to the classic story of obsession “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville.
Naming the spaceship ‘Essex’ is a wonderful nod to the whaling ship that inspired Melville’s novel as is naming of the Captain’s father’s ship ‘Acushnet’ in the film’s first scene (‘Acushnet’ being the name of the vessel Melville served on earlier in his life). Holt McCallany portrays Captain Richard Bentley and heads an excellent cast depicting one of the most motley crews since “Firefly”. The ship’s crew are interesting characters with varying motivations. Other than revenge, the crew deals with jealousy, lust, mistrust, madness, etc. The one character’s story that should have been explored more in depth was I.C.E. Agent Lynn Navarro (portrayed by Zulay Henao). Seeking the mythical healing power of the titular “white space”, her background deserved more examination. “White Space” could have been a one note plot about a man seeking revenge, but delivers a well done, multilayered story. “White Space” is also a visually striking film. Imaginative designs are brought to life by surprisingly exceptional special effects. From its ships to its spacefaring creatures, the film makes the most of its technical budget. The ship sets give the crew’s area a lived-in look adding authenticity to the film’s universe. The musical score enhances the film and its action. A haunting rendition of Ralph Stanley’s “O Death”, arranged by Nima Fakhrara and Navid Hejazi and sung by Julia Dominczak, adds a chilling layer to the film’s conclusion. “White Space” is a film to be enjoyed by science fiction fans, monster movie fans, and even horror fans.
Review by “Big” Al Sievertson