Solitary (2020) reviews and overview

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[Total: 76   Average: 1.9/5]

‘The greatest punishment imaginable’

Solitary is a 2020 British science-fiction feature film about a man who discovers he’s a prisoner sent into space to form Earth’s first colony. Worse, his cellmate Alana is hell-bent on destroying everything.

Written and directed by Luke Armstrong – based on his 2019 short of the same name – the Inspired Pictures production stars Johnny Sachon, Lottie Tolhurst and Brian Bovell. Produced by aforementioned Johnny Sachon and Sarah-Anne Grill.

Background:

Luke Armstrong has commented: “This film started life as a short, shot entirely in my living room with a portable green screen, as we wanted to show just what could be achieved on little to no budget. With that mantra in mind, we made the feature in just 14 days on a micro-budget and completed it remotely due to Covid-19. I’m thrilled that we’ve come through all these challenges to gain worldwide distribution, so I can’t wait for the film to get out there and find its audience!”

Luke continued: “I try to write films that are grounded in emotional truth and deliver the spectacle with VFX and craft. I love working with actors – it’s our job as directors to find the truth and magic in a performance and nurture it and It always brings a grin to my face watching actors bringing meaning to a scene.”

Reviews [click links to read more]:

Solitary is worth a recommendation on its excellent story, accomplished special effects, and stellar performances from the lead actors. It’s an honest attempt to make a good sci-fi film and fulfills that task. It has interesting things to say about our future and the human condition, though I wish it had the budget to intensify the drama and thrills during the final act.” Film Threat

” …Solitary is a compelling watch, dynamically constructed by Armstrong in the most unusual of circumstances. At times it looks and sounds majestic, transcending its limitations to have sequences of outstanding scope befitting the science-fiction genre. A pair of cracking performances just about manage to hold the film together and elevate a script that clunks more often then it soars.” Groovie Movie Reviews

“From the Hollywood inspired visuals to the fantastic minuscule cast, Armstrong’s ability is incredible, writing and directing a small scale narrative with finesse, contained like your favourite bottle episodes of Star Trek. Carrying the film from beginning to end is no easy task for both Johnny Sachon and Lottie Talhurst, but they’re clearly interested in the project and take special care when exploring their characters.” UK Film Review

“When Solitary does take on bigger issues, like the state of prisons and the ethics of sending prisoners into space it’s trite and superficial. The script also mentions climate change and overpopulation but does nothing with them. It’s obvious the film wants to make a statement. It just doesn’t seem to know how to get it across. Talky and dull, Solitary is one of those ideas that makes for a good short.” Voices from the Balcony

“Yes, the film works in a self-referential direction, bringing with it a story that might not come across as entirely original to those well versed in the lexicon of science fantasy. It recognises the genre, responds to it, and even reveres it. The vast spaceships surround our eyes with an impassioned array of colours, each shade glowing with every frame it floats in.” We Are Cult

Release:

In the UK, High Fliers Films released Solitary on Blu-ray and DVD on 31st August 2020.

Cast and characters:

Johnny Sachon … Issac Havelock
Lottie Tolhurst … Alana Skill
Brian Bovell … Harry
Connie Jenkins-Greig … Isabel
Michael Condron … Ken Bradley
Raymond Bethley … Richard Adams
Michael Absalom … Reporter
Andre Pierre … Capsule Guard
Kelvin Hewlett … Spook
Elliot Balchin … Leather Jacket
Andrew Mike Doyle … Robert Themis (as Andrew Doyle)
Kathryn Vinclaire … Eva
Ben Valentine … Pundit Chris
Holly Georgia … Lucy James (KNL Researcher)
Wayne Holloway … Officer
Liam Ballantyne … Drug addict
Lydia Cherry … Clara
Henry Collie … Drug Addict
David Sachon … Judge
Joel Rothwell … Doorman
Mathew Nolan … Drug Addict
Keith Hahn … Rick Sader (Nasa Astronaut)
James Boswell … Capsule Guard
Alex Holloway … Officer
Matthew O’Leary Profit … Officer
Marcus Wood … Drug Addict
Scott McFall … Control
Ashley Austin … Officer

Technical details:

89 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

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