Review | NEMESIS

Deep within the archive bowels of Movieboozer (where films are proudly rated by the beer), there is hopefully a remnant of my review of the sci-fi alien invasion extravaganza Skyline. It was one of my first articles ever for an online site willing to bring me on in some capacity, and I think fondly on that often. With regards to Skyline, that's as much fondness as I'm willing to grant. A mere effects reel for the filmmakers and crew to use on their resume's, it was a frustrating affirmation to many that, more often than not, limited resources + independent ambition don't always = freedom to be great. It may have produced quite an awesome sequel, sure, but a feature-length "look at what I can do!" exercise just wasn't and will never be appealing. 

Nemesis, however, breaks that mold.

In the bit of research that I've done on director Tim Earnheart, one would think that his short film would follow the pattern from above. And yes, the film he made indeed has a show-off quality to it. But... (and it's a big but - no joke intended) the difference here is in intent. While not always relevant, directorial meaning can provide insight into the mechanics and thought-process behind the screen we're all looking at. For Skyline, all I got was a desperate stab at recognition. For Nemesis, I understood a joy for wicked colors, wild thrills, and world-building intrigue. Earnheart did in under twenty minutes what Skyline failed to do in about ninety. 

By the way: Any opportunity I get to tear down Skyline, I take. Always.

The movie deals in the deterioration of friendship, the levels of scheming inherent in big business success, and the lengths anyone will go to experience luxuriously exhilarating "experiences" - just because others can't. The frailing friendship and eventual entry into "immersive" "live" gaming starts with a cocktail between two women - both of whom are people of color I should note.
A company merger for one is a takeover for another. One loves the benefits and prestige of money, and the other states the importance of genuine ideals. It's a tad grating between the two, both playing the stereotype associated with greed vs "good" arguments, though I suspect this isn't really of interest to the director - nor should it be, really. 

An emotional core would be nice if not nearly required in other films, but with Nemesis, expectations are more on the side of creative effects. "Let's get to it!" the imagined audiences proclaim within Tim Earnheart's mind. Yes, please do.
The money-grubbing woman is invited into an exclusive "club", and it's been recommended that she choose "hunting." With much quickness, she's thrown into a large room, occupied with defense walls straight out of an episode of American Gladiators, two guards on a railing above, loud sirens, various weaponry, and an intimidating Predator-like "hunter." She wanted a thrill? She wanted exclusivity? Maybe it comes at a price that no one can truly pay. 

There are many wonderful details to this room, from wicked lighting to bursts of gorgeous color to the design of the attack guards - their faces are obscured with a widely-smiling mouth of teeth shape that's been imprinted on their m
asks. Creepy, funny, haunting. And for an action short, such minute specs show so much effort and attention. Whatever issues with the narrative and dialogue that are observed, it's in these moments where Nemesis flourishes. 

Give Earnheart and team a script full of gritty and glittery spectacle, and they'll achieve so much. Here, the story is only a dressing, and that's ok. For the twenty minutes that we're with Nemesis, the only expectation is the fun in shots and splatter. Expectations fulfilled. And, for the eagle-eyed viewers, acute reading between the seams will pay off. Expectations decimated.

RATING: 3 / 5