Terminus (2015)

Rating:

Australia. 2015.

Crew

Director – Marc Furmie, Screenplay – Gabriel Dowrick, Marc Furmie & Shiyan Zheng, Producers – Brett Thornquest & Tim Maddocks, Photography – Kieran Fowler, Music – Brian Cachia, Visual Effects Supervisor – Jonathan Dearing, Visual Effects – Orb VFX, Special Effects – Pyromania (Supervisor – Lou Stefanel), Prosthetic Makeup/Creature Effects – Odd Studio (Designers/Supervisors – Adam Johansen & Damian Martin), Production Design – Jamie Morris. Production Company – Storm Alley Entertainment/Eclectik Vision/Madd Films

Cast

Jai Koutrae (David Chamberlain), Kendra Appleton (Annabelle Chamberlain), Todd Lasance (Zach Aronson), Bren Foster (Agent Julian Stipe), Vincent Andriano (James O’Mally), John Manning (Tony Cerillo), Brendan Clerkin (Ned Wilcox), Katherine Hicks (Jane Chamberlain)


Plot

The world teeters on the precipice of an international crisis that threatens to break out into war. In a small backwater US town, David Chamberlain tries to get by working as a mechanic but the country suffers a worsening economic situation. One evening, David is driving in his truck as a meteorite comes down nearby. His daughter Annabelle reports him missing but David reappears not long after. Asking the help of war veteran Zach Aronson, David returns to the meteorite impact site and they drag a glowing artefact that has landed back to his barn. After touching the artefact, Zach’s missing leg begins to regrow. At the same time, David is troubled by dreams and visions of his late wife who warns of a coming nuclear war. David takes the artefact and begins building a shelter for it in secrecy. Meanwhile, Agent Julian Stipe from the National Science Agency comes ruthlessly determined to obtain the artefact.


Marc Furmie is a South African born director resident in Australia. Terminus was his feature-film debut and he subsequently went on to make the science-fiction film Airlock (2015). The film played at various international film festivals.

Terminus – not related to the strange French-made Terminus (1987) also set in a collapsing civilisation – is an Australian film. (Not that you would know it is an Australian film as everyone affects American accents and pretends the setting is somewhere in the American Midwest). The poster for Terminus suggests that it is an alien contact/UFO film, although that is not quite the case. It is more of a mysterious artefact film where an object of unspecified alien origin is found and has a miraculous transforming effect on the people around. Added to this is a cliche group of sinister government agents (who are Men in Black but appear more as rogue operators) and hero Jai Koutrae having visions of the end of the world. The film that Terminus ends up resembling the most is fellow Australian Alex Proyas’s Knowing (2009).

Terminus did not do much to inspire me. It is capably made but the pace is sedate and there is little that holds interest. The scenes that do cause your attention to perk up are the ones where Todd Lasance suddenly starts to grow a new leg after touching the meteorite (while in an earlier scene Jai Koutrae is found to have sprouted a new liver). The latter half of the show is taken up by cliche stuff with the evil government agents tracking and menacing people to obtain the artefact. The end with Kendra Appleton and Todd Lasance emerging alone into a devastated world is meant to be awe-inspiring but has its effect severely undercut by the risibility of the image of them emerging from out of a sealed-over concrete mixer that has remained untouched amid an otherwise devastated world.



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