TROPIC (2022). Review by Steve Kirkham

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    TROPIC (2022)

    3 stars
    Blue Finch Film Releasing. Digital. 4th March
    A French science fiction drama, TROPIC opens with several people training underwater to see who stay under the longest. They are competing for a place on the Euro Space Programme, to be part of an off world mission – in the background of this it is inferred that this could well be important for the human race and its survival but this is not front and centre here as this is a smaller scale story focussing on the characters than the wider implications.
    The film follows twins who are both attempting to gain a spot on the flight – Tristan (Louis Peres) and Làzaro Guerrero (Pablo Cobo). They are determined that they will both go, but soon that conviction and their whole relationship will be challenged.
    Out one night practicing their underwater skills, to increase the time they can hold their breath, they see something unknown crash into the lake where. They are swimming. It emanates a strange glow which Tristan is caught in.
    He is quarantined as a precaution – good job too as some kind of possibly alien parasitic organism begins to grow within, damaging his lungs and his brain function. His brother is understandably upset and feels adrift without the the support of his sibling.
    Does he continue his prep with the very real possibility he will be leaving his beloved brother behind on Earth? He will have to face the dilemma of not being able to care for Tristan.
    With slight overtones of 50s sci-fi like THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT (1954) and FIRST MAN INTO SPACE (1959) and similar, this remains grounded and doesn’t overplay the fact of the contamination and how it affects the ailing Tristan… he never turns into a full blown monster!
    It is a bit slow in the telling, however it is bolstered by believable acting and convincingly directed by Edouard Salier without devolving into an out and out creature feature being more an exploration of relationships ans how they can be shaped by traumatic changes.
    It’s the ties that bind which are put under stress when tragedy strikes and the impact of loneliness when the people you rely on are no longer there.
    Steve Kirkham

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