Starring: Gary Daniels, Courtney Akbar and Michael Pare’
Directed by: Asif Akbar
Rated: Not Rated
Running time: 1 hour 45 mins
A young woman (Courtney Akbar) sits alone in her room as Christmas approaches. She wonders aloud if she will ever see her father again. She is greeted by a flash and is approached by a creature that calls herself “Vivian” (Max Wasa). She informs the daughter that she is there to “show her the way.”
We are not alone.
That is the message we quickly learn in director Asif Akbar’s latest film, “Astro.”
The film begins with radio broadcasts, as well as newspaper accounts, of the various incidents reported in the late 1940s in Roswell, New Mexico. For years, Roswell has either been looked upon as either a tourist trap or the place where the government is hiding SOMETHING! We are privy to an examination of a “creature,” under the guidance of billionaire space enthusiast Alexander Biggs (Marshal Hilton). When a DNA test of the creature reveals the name of a long lost friend, Biggs realizes that his thoughts and hopes about extraterrestrials may finally be coming true.
An entertaining film, “Astro” benefits from a strong cast and firm direction. I am a huge fan of Mr. Akbar’s 2012 documentary, “Top Priority: The Terror Within,” a film in which he took on the government after learning of a major security breach along the border, and his approach to this story is almost the same. His use of close-ups gives one the impression one is watching a documentary, which puts the viewer more into the story that is unfolding on screen.
The cast are also “all in” on the story, with nary a false note in sight. Mr. Hilton is slickly smooth, channeling a cross between Jeremy Irons and Charles Dance. Mr. Daniels and Ms. Akbar are a devoted father/daughter team, one whose bond seems genuine. And, to be honest, I’ve always liked Michael Pare’, so it’s always a pleasure to see him on the big screen.
The script, by Mr. Akbar and Bernard Selling, adds enough humor to keep the story light and the musical score, by Erick Schroder, sets the tone for the entire film. If there is a fault in the film, it is its budget. The special effects, while passible, do have a homemade quality to them. Nothing horrible, but when you release your film at the same time as the new “Avengers” or “Solo” is in theatres, you’d have to understand the criticism.
That being said, like “Close Encounters” before it, the questions need to be answered!”