Showing: Thursday 26 June // 22:30 @ Filmhouse
Director: Billy O’Brien
Starring: John Lynch, Morjana Alaoui, Craig Conway, Beth Winslet
Running Time: 94 Minutes
At a time when there are so many burgeoning art forms, cinema has never had a bigger palate to draw from. Scintilla‘s director Billy O’Brien has clearly been influenced by a number of sources, most notably videogames, but in doing so neglects to tell anything close to a coherent story.
John Lynch’s Powell leads a group of mercenaries into an unnamed former Soviet state, where their mission is to infiltrate a military base in order to retrieve the secrets that lie within. Once underground, they discover that a scientist has been conducting experiments by splicing human and alien DNA to create a race of mutant creatures. Precisely why any of this is taking place is never fully explained; as the story trundles along we’re constantly pleading for answers to our increasing number of questions, but by the halfway mark you’ll have already lost interest.
O’Brien has pilfered ideas from celebrated videogames such as Bioshock, The Last Of Us and Half-Life, but Scintilla has none of their expertly constructed satire, action or emotional heart. It also, unsurprisingly, recalls Vincenzo Natali’s Splice, but again forgets to have an engaging central theme upon which to hang his narrative. The central cast are all diabolical too, but can be forgiven as the script they have to work with is utterly useless. Occasional flashes of competency do occur here and there; there are a few nice shots and one or two atmospheric moments, however it’s more than likely than any goodwill you have will be vigorously tested. A one to avoid for certain.