Indie sci-film films are often more likely to falter on the special effects side of production, with their otherworldly ideas and galactic scope tough to realize on a small budget. But with his feature directorial debut, “Solis,” Carl Strathie, his cinematographer, Bart Sienkiewicz and the effects team have crafted a visually impressive film that makes great use of its single setting. The problems, however, lie in Strathie’s clunky, illogical script, keeping the movie earthbound.
Low-level technician Troy Holloway (Steven Ogg) awakens to discover that he is the sole survivor on an escape pod from an asteroid mining expedition. He quickly realizes that navigation is down and that there’s no way to steer the pod as it barrels toward the sun. With Commander Roberts (Alice Lowe) trying to help him over a communication channel, he faces a growing number of obstacles to his survival, from an oxygen shortage to the increasing temperature.
Along with the impressive visuals and effects, Ogg’s performance carries the film. But his work as the rude, quick-tempered tech is a little too effective, making it difficult for the audience to care about the sole character on-screen until far too late in the movie — if they ever do at all. The minimalist approach and premise of “Solis” should work, but the execution in the script keeps the viewer disengaged, wishing the pod would move more quickly toward its final destination.
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Playing: Starts Oct. 26, Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena