Friday, February 23, 2018

Victoria Film Fest review: Artistic documentary Photon takes a crack at explaining almost everything

February 5, 2018 by Elias Orrego, contributing writer

Photon, directed by Norman Leto, is an impressive documentary presenting current scientific theory regarding the formation and the behavior of the cosmos. It starts at the beginnings of the universe, goes through various ages of the Earth and evolution, and gives some predictions of the future.

Using an effective combination of models and microscope footage of atoms and particles, the film describes in relatively simple terms the scope of life and matter and the progression of the universe. The narrative runs like a university lecture, with intermittent explanatory scenes; it’s interesting but fast-paced at times and often intense.

Photon blurs the lines between documentary, reality, and sci-fi (photo provided).

The film includes some quite graphic and shocking images that may not have been necessary to get the point across, but they certainly grab the viewer’s attention during explanations that require focus. An incredible amount of detail is utilized for various scenes, with a combination of computer animation, props, and ingenious cinematography.

The narrator takes pauses for the audience to process the complexity of the concepts, and also throws in comical lines and comparisons. What acting there is in the film is purposefully minimalistic but quite good. The movie blurs the lines between documentary, reality, and science fiction; it features members of Leto’s family and centres around an interview with him as he plays a molecular biologist. During the film, imagination and fun is infused into subjects like space-time, God particles, OCD, and Alzheimer’s. The film does an excellent job of bringing to the masses scientific principles and theories that might otherwise be inaccessible.

Unforgettable scenes featuring landscapes, natural phenomena, and the activity of various life forms on earth are very engaging; the telescope images and footage of astronomical wonders are also impressive.

The movie features an impressive sense of build-up and showmanship; by the end, it accomplishes the lofty goal of fostering a greater appreciation for the wonder of the universe and the complexity of the human experience.

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