Review: SOL Takes Indie Science Fiction To New Dimensions

MovieReviewby Jim Napier

Transport yourself to another dimension with SOL, an independent science fiction feature film from writer/director Benjamin Carland. Independent science fiction films can be incredibly bad or incredibly awesome. In the case of SOL, I was pleasantly surprised to with the amount of thrills and tension from such a low budget film.

Imagine being stranded on a hostile alien planet with a group of other elite young adults as part of a prestigious competition called Sol Invictus. The goal of your team is to be able to pinpoint Earth's faraway sun - Sol to wine fame and glory. The teams face many perils along the way, including themselves. The story finds the competitors of this year's competition marooned on the wrong planet with most of their teammates and equipment missing. What starts as a game for glory soon descends into a race for survival as former enemies must band together in the bleak hope of surviving long enough to win.

A unique story and wonderful cinematography make Sol an enjoyable film for fans of the genre. I was reminded of futuristic version of Lord of the Flies, with elements of the Hunger Games and Stargate thrown in. There is a feeling of isolation and paranoia throughout the film, primarily because of the location. The mysterious planet in the film is actually the beaches of North Carolina. The sand dunes and natural wildlife in the area offer an eerie space-like atmosphere The natural and over-saturated lighting was a great way for creating moments of intensity.

What adds to the intensity of many of the scenes is not what you see, but more of what you hear and do not see. The visual effects are minimal, but it works for Sol. It allows you to create tension in your mind, which builds up over time until there is a reveal. This is what worked well for shows like LOST, where the smoke monster is making so much noise in the jungle on the first episode.

Do not let a cast of unknown actors sway you away from checking this out. Jake Brown, Caleb Courtney, Sky King, Aaron Kuban, Spenser Pollard, Tyler Thomas, and Jake White put in solid performances. Of course they have room to improve, but the level of emotions and line delivery was decent.

This is not a movie that everyone will love, but is one that true fans of the science fiction genre will respect. Carland has done what many geeks dream of doing - making a cool movie about outer space. My hats off to him and the cast for putting forth such an entertaining experience. If you're looking for something to watch at home this week, then I can not think of a better option than SOL.

Watch the trailer below:

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