September 19th 2012
When Global/Nexus announced last year that it was embarking on yet another biopic of famed astro-pioneer Nick Croshaw, it seemed preposterous. Everybody and their mother knows his story; from his relentless study of the space anomaly that seemed to swallow ships whole to finally becoming the first man to discover and successfully navigate through a jump-point. We’ve all been here before. Seen it done on Vid, in song, I’m sure someone’s painted it, but here’s the thing… this one’s really good.
Starting with a script from newcomer Thomas Goss, Prods were able to attract A-list talent like Michael Forbe (Croshaw) and Lima Hannigan (Baxter) and director Ariel Kalil (Requiem’s Run). Text and Vis has a vérité feel that doesn’t patronize. It adds a vitality and urgency to what had always been the stumbling block for earlier attempts at the same story; the early days. This period of Croshaw’s life was effectively trial and error, attempting to understand what caused and how to consistently trigger the anomaly to open is pretty dry stuff, essentially boiling down to arguments about astrophysics and folds in time/space. Somehow the Makers tone it down just enough to make it accessible and get you emotionally involved but without losing the intellectually challenging elements of the discourse.
Once the film moves into Croshaw’s attempt to cross the Fold for the first time, it shifts into a more conventional adventure story but since it had done such a wonderful job setting up everything that’s at stake, you’re ready for something a little more fast-paced, which brings us to probably the stand-out set-piece in the entire Vid. Everyone knows the dangers of jump-point navigation, it’s like piloting through an asteroid field with afterburners on. That’s what we’re told. Now we can experience what it must feel like; the blinding speeds, the abject terror, but also that rush, that insane high of skating to the edge and coming out the other side. It makes it all the more insane and incredible that this actually happens.
The Vis once Croshaw comes out the other side of the jump-point are impeccably done, regressing what we all know as the Croshaw System into what it probably looked like when he saw it for the first time with all the wonder that I’m sure he felt.
Tech achievements are top-notch across the board. William Kurtz’s score is both sweeping and intimate.
Vid will appeal to multi-demo crowd though young children probably won’t like the science-speak. Available for Dish and Wave set this week, standard ul/dl costs apply.