The search for new life forms is one of those adventures that sounds like one of the most essential and transcendental journeys a human being can take on. Finding that we are not alone in the universe would certainly change not only the fact that we are not alone but also countless dogmas and conventions we use every day when it comes to dealing with daily life. Will we find our companions in the stars someday? We have to wait and see, but fiction will always try to answer that question first. Let’s review The Antares Paradox, a new sci-fi film showing at Fantastic Fest.
The Antares Paradox is a film written and directed by Luis Tinoco. The film represents his first time taking the role of a director, but Tinoco has been working in the industry for decades. The film stars Andrea Trepat, as Alexandra, the film’s protagonist, and actors such as Aleida Torrent, Jaume de Sans, David Ramirez, and Ferran Vilajosana in supporting roles. The film tells the story of Alexandra, a radio astronomer who finds herself discovering a signal unlike anything else reported before, a signal coming from the twin system of Antares which might confirm that we are not alone.
The Antares Paradox is a one-location film, meaning that everything that happens in the film is reserved for a single space, in this case, a space observatory, looking at the sky for signals coming from space. This is a real job that is often forgotten by the general population unless they see it in media of some kind. More often than not, this job only becomes important when they find something like this, which is the case in this movie. Nevertheless, it is great to explore what the job entails with a bit more depth than how other movies have depicted it.
A one-location film is a hard thing to do. Of course, you chose to make a film like this for several reasons. Maybe, you don’t have enough money to travel to locations or build sets. Possibly the pandemic affected the production of your film and having a sole actress doing most of the work alone becomes easier than bringing tons of actors into the same space. Or maybe you have a proper vision of what a film like this could be. The Antares Paradox feels like a combination of all the above, and yet it works, creating a fascinating tale of duty and sacrifice.
The movie works for various reasons. One is that Tinoco takes advantage of his space as much as he can, and he makes great use of the limited space he has. There is no reason why the movie should not be dynamic when you can place your camera basically anywhere, and Tinoco places his lens in the best possible spots. You will forget soon enough that everything happens in just one room.
The script also has a lot to do with the success of the film. The story is always asking questions both to the audience and also to Alexandra. These questions, lead to revelations and discoveries that are not caged only to what is out there in space, but also to what is caged inside Alexandra’s soul. Who for most of the film, finds herself dealing with a very important conflict of interest.
Last but not least, the story keeps moving, and it grabs you only because Trepat is doing such a great job in the role. It would be an understatement to say that she carries the movie on her shoulders. The actress gives one hell of a performance, and she goes on a rollercoaster of emotions as the film progresses. Trepat really has every opportunity to show her range as an actress, and she does wonderfully. The movie is quite solid, but it is clear that without Trepat and her performance, it would have been a bit harder to connect with the film.
However, at many points, especially towards the end, it feels like the movie is resisting the necessity to end and overextends itself a bit. Not by much, but it is noticeable, and it is at this point that the movie might lose some of its audience. It is a matter of pacing and knowing when your story should end. You really don’t want your audience to feel the need to leave while watching your movie. The Antares Paradox never falls completely into it, but it almost does.
The Antares Paradox is an excellent little sci-fi film that explores the big ideas of the universe and the more personal ones in equal measure. Of course, the film doesn’t have the necessary resources to explore the space storyline a bit further, but the filmmakers know this and end up focusing more on the inner universe we all have within ourselves. Andrea Trepat also gives an amazing performance and brings everything together with her as the film ends in a note that is both sad but hopeful.