Film Review – Voyagers

Voyagers (M)

Directed by: Neil Burger

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Colin Farrell

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

A bunch of horny young adults run amok on a spaceship in this timely updated and relocated version of Lord of the Flies.

In 2063 as Earth becomes uninhabitable, a crew of 30 boys and girls are genetically engineered for the purpose of embarking on an 86-year, multi-generational deep space mission aboard the Humanitas to find an alternate planet to populate, chaperoned by father-figure Richard (Colin Farrell).

Everything runs smoothly with peace and order on board the ship, until several years into the journey when Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and Zac (Fionn Whitehead) discover the crew is being drugged to keep them docile and focused.

When they rebel, order descends into raunchy college movie territory chaos as they begin to experience an overwhelming surge of hormones, not all of whom have the capacity to control.

Zac gets violent, rapey and power hungry, splitting the crew down the middle with his outrageous propaganda, leaving Christoper and chief medical officer and target of Zac’s newfound urges Sela (Lily-Rose Depp) to fend for themselves.

The plot, characterisation and theme similarities between Voyagers and William Golding’s 1954 novel about marooned British boys that go feral without adult supervision are blatant – Voyagers writer, producer and director Neil Burger does little to camouflage them.

Transporting the story into the future with a high risk mission for the future of humanity does add a fresh high stakes take on the material and with recent world events, this comes as timely and potent food for thought about how grim human instincts and behaviour can be when not kept in check.

Burger’s atmospheric depiction of descent into chaos in this clinical and claustrophobic setting (those white, cold and character-free spaceship corridors are creepy) does manage to keep you on edge even when you can guess his next plot move, but once he starts spoon feeding the themes later down the track with on the nose dialogue, the film begins to lose some of its weight.

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