THEATRICAL REVIEW: Voyagers is Lord Of The Flies in space, but can’t capture full reverence of inspiration

Voyagers is a film with an interesting conceit in a landscape of remakes and rehashes, and that alone made it worth the viewing for me.

Focused on a multi-generational crew of astronauts on an 80-year mission to inhabit a new planet, the members begin to lose their minds and footing after a tragedy aboard.

Writer-director Neil Burger has quietly cemented himself over the years as a dependable, skilled artist. With movies like The Illusionist, The Upside and Limitless, he manages to deftly bring life to characters and elevate source material.

While he may not hit the entire mark in Voyagers, he does craft a story that hones in on nature vs. nurture, and what might happen when we’re left to our base instincts with no rule of law. He explores whether people can be inherently evil, and he does so in a rich, interesting setting.

The problem with a movie like Voyagers in the #MeToo era is that it’s ugly. There’s no actual nudity in it, but it’s creepy, containing characters who will make you deeply uncomfortable. Some won’t enjoy that one bit, but credit to young Dunkirk actor Fionn Whitehead for a turn that’s going to make many cringe at the sight of him.

Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan and Lily Rose-Depp, daughter of Johnny, also star, and all give interesting performances despite a somewhat limited script. It’s nice to see Depp’s talent on display, as her involvement in Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers a few years ago had me ready to write her off.

Voyagers is a slick, interesting affair that explores universal themes with a sure hand. I just wish the director Burger had worked his magic with these characters to make them a bit more involving. Had I cared for them a bit more, the whole flick might have been more consequential.

That said, it’s going to make you think more than anything else at the cineplex right now.

3/5 Stars

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