Dan Stevens has had a lot of success recently with his role in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, but did you know there was another film he worked on before this? That film is Tim Smit’s sci-fi/action/drama Kill Switch. But is this a successful directorial debut with such a well known actor?
Kill Switch is the directorial debut of Tim Smit (visual effects on Last Passenger). Written by Charlie Kindinger and Omid Nooshin (Last Passenger). The visual effects were done by Nikolas Kanellopoulus (Flies). Starring Dan Stevens (The Guest, Beauty and the Beast 2017) as Will Porter, Bérénice Marlohe (007 Skyfall) as Abigail Vos, Tygo Gernandt (Black Death) as Michael, Gijs Scholten van Aschat (Tirza) as Reynard, Kasper van Groesen (The Zigzag Kid) as Donny, Mike Libanon (Spangen) as Hugo, and Charity Wakefield (Sense and Sensibility) as Mia Kreiss.
Sometime in the near future, physicist and former NASA pilot Will Porter (Stevens) is recruited by Alterplex, a power company that has built a massive tower that taps into unlimited quantum energy. When strange anomalies occur around the world that are blamed on the tower, it is revealed that it is destroying a mirror universe Earth referred to as The Echo and that the inhabitants there also have an energy tower. Porter is sent to The Echo with a device called the Redivider, believing it will balance the power transfer between the two universes and set things right. Instead, he learns the device is a kill switch that will destroy The Echo, forcing him to decide which universe to sacrifice in order to save the other.
What works in this film is the story and the idea behind the quantum energy tower. The fact that it opened up a “gateway” to a parallel world so that people on earth can mine The Echo earth for all its resources is also pretty neat. The whole set-up that this parallel world is not what it seems is kind of cliche in a sci-fi film, but Kill Switch does it in a way that kept me intrigued.
The camera work is also really well done. There are some beautiful shots in some of the scenes that could have been captured and framed as if it were a painting. When Will (Stevens) goes to The Echo world, the camera switches to a first person view point. Though at this point in moviemaking the trick has been done to death, it is done in such a way where the frenetic movement doesn’t give you the shaky-cam feel. Since the majority of the action set pieces play out in this mode, this is where it stumbles a bit. Kill Switch feels like you are watching someone playing a first-person shooter video game along the lines of Call of Duty. Hell, there is even a Heads Up Display (HUD) on the screen that gets a bit annoying to look at.
The CGI, on the other hand, is hit or miss. Some of the futuristic vehicles look good when hovering in place, but look a bit awkward and fake when they are moving. Even the tower itself looks a tad fake. In all honesty, this didn’t detract from the film itself, it is just something I have to point out.
The acting, for the most part, was well done all around. There were a few characters that felt a little wooden but they weren’t key roles so it was easy to look past. Dan Stevens’ performance, however, was fantastic. Without someone like him in the lead role, Kill Switch would have fallen apart.
So, if you are looking for a interesting sci-fi story with some fun action set pieces peppered throughout, I recommend checking out Kill Switch. Check back with PopHorror to find out when this film will finally be released!