Anti Matter throws a lot of balls in the air at the outset but impressively manages to juggle them all, delivering a taut thriller that should appeal to both hard sci-fi fans and those who don’t know their wormholes from their warp drives. Superb across the board, this film boasts the quality of a AAA release without losing the indie feel of a homegrown passion project.
Claiming to offer a different take on Alice in Wonderland, Keir Burrows’ feature debut happily forges its own path, offering the occasional Easter egg for die-hard Carroll fans. After a zippy opening that races through the technobabble of the setup, Anti Matter dives headfirst into a twisty middle act that changes tack again and again, defiantly tossing out red herrings and misdirection along the way. This could be irritating, if the final act didn’t pull everything together in a spectacular fashion – and without sacrificing the noirish feel that permeates every part of the film.
Acting-wise, all the cast offer realistic and affecting performances. In the lead role Yaiza Figueroa is given a tricky role to sell, but she does an admirable job to keep the audience rooting for Ana as she gives into her baser instincts and escalating paranoia. Tom Barber-Duffy’s Nate is sweet and likeable, but if anyone walks away with the film, it’s Philippa Carson, who bursts into the film as techno-goth Liv and steals every scene with her original blend of charming and abrasive.
The cinematography, set design and score all work overtime to build the film’s woozy feel, and Oxford’s dreaming spires are the perfect location for this cerebral thriller. With the style and substance of Christopher Nolan’s early work, Anti Matter is worth checking out when it (hopefully) comes to a screen near you.
CAST: Yaiza Figueroa, Philippa Carson, Tom Barber-Duffy, Noah Maxwell Clarke
DIRECTOR: Keir Burrows
WRITER: Keir Burrows
SYNOPSIS: Anti Matter is a sci-fi noir take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. After an experiment to generate and travel through a wormhole, the story follows the increasingly desperate efforts by Oxford student Ana to find out who – or what – is behind the rising horror in her life.