Arrowhead (2016)


What is Arrowhead – the new sci-fi thriller from writer / director Jesse O’brien – all about? Well, having watched it I’m, I hate to say, unable to answer this? The film – featuring Israeli actor Dan Mor – though periodically beautiful to look at, is bewildering in its story and point. In fact, by the end of the film, you are left with the overriding question as to whether there was any?

Caught in a futuristic battle between two armies – the ideologies of neither he agrees with – Kye Cortland (Mor) is offered the chance of freedom, if he promises to help one of the waring factions obtain some crucial information from the Arrowhead spaceship. It’s when the Arrowhead crash lands on a moon in a distant galaxy however, that Kye realises his troubles are only beginning.

There are an increasing number of films made in the modern age which, having watched, the viewer cannot help but ask how or why it got made. Arrowhead is one such film. Now I’m not saying every film has to have a deep and thought provoking meaning behind it. Though films like that have their place, the occasionally piece of throwaway popcorn fodder is equally important: indeed watching the odd excursion into the territory of flimsy makes you appreciate the more serious material when it comes along. However there are some films which make even the lightweight look like a Freudian exposition in comparison. Take Arrowhead for example.

It’s storyline – clearly trying to be clever with the (apparent) introduction of ‘Jekyll and ‘Hyde’ undercurrents – is simply too convoluted, littered with characters who leave the viewer caring little about where they are heading or what happens to them. The introduction to this brew of various strands of reincarnation and rejuvenation – at least I think that’s what O’Brien was aiming for – just result in confusion instead of the clearly intended thought provoking themes.

In its favour – and yes, there is a slight glimmer of hope – Arrowhead is at times beautiful to look at. When Kye sets out periodically to explore the new moon on which he has been stranded, the brown sands of the acrid landscape across which he treks, juxtaposed against the vivid blue skies overhead are enough to take your breath away. This – along with the outlines of huge planets which hang over the moon on which Kye finds himself – are enough to give the settings of the last year’s new Star Wars outing a run for their money. The alien creatures – revealed in brief, sporadic bursts towards the end – which inhabit this strange new world, are also freaky enough to jolt you from any fatigue which may have set in by the time they make an appearance. However, even these faint sparks of imagination do little to save a film which, if you were to nod off for ten minutes when watching it, you wouldn’t really feel that you had missed much.

As I said earlier, I was trying desperately to decipher the reason behind this film. Surely there had to be something more to justify its existence? Unfortunately where Arrowhead is concerned there really doesn’t seem to be.

Director: Jesse O’Brien
Stars: Dan Mor, Christopher Kirby, Shaun Micallef, Aleisha Rose
Runtime: 95 minutes
Country: Australia

Film Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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