What They Say:
After a mysterious crash landing, a young boy travels across an exotic island on a motorcycle, trying to escape a dark spirit and return home.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The film begins with a young man whose parachute is stuck in a tree. A giant black creature with white eyes approaches him and seemingly eats him. He escapes and runs away towards several arches. When he passes through into a rocky enclosure and finds the black creature does not pursue him and remains in the threshold to this place.
As he explores this safe area, he finds it’s full of everything he needs. Water and food are in abundance. He even makes a friend with a bird and discovers a backpack with a map and a motorcycle. He spends a lot of time here, contemplating what he should do and learning to ride the motorcycle. Finally, he gathers the courage and leaves, with the only way going right through the waiting black creature.
With his friend in his backpack and new knowledge about how to ride the motorcycle, he follows the arches and creates distance between him and the black creature. However, the black creature is never far behind, so when he gets the opportunity, he breaks the bridge the creatures on and it falls. The young man keeps going forward passing a variety of animals on his way, and his young friend is looking to the skies to fly with the other birds.
The black creature is not gone and climbs back up and restarts his pursuit of the young man. As it moves along, the animals don’t fear it, but the creature still curls up in a ball and when it leaves, the animal has died. In time, the black creature catches up to the young man who is so close to get to his goal but collapse at the top of the mountain. The black creature engulfs the young man, but the bird who has learned to fly pulls him out of the creature. Together the boy and bird go forward and the boy makes it his final destination, Cloud Harbor.
This film has no dialogue and is crafted in a simple, but beautiful animation style. My initial impression was it felt like a story stylized video game. There seemed to be a distinct ending with distinct goals to be made as the arches were like checkpoints. What set it apart and made it uniquely interesting was that while there were all these specific game-like features to this story, it was the quiet, yet not understated storytelling that shone through the best.
During the course of the film, it’s easy to think you know what the film is trying to convey, but then another idea pops up how relatable it is to something else. Is it the story of life from birth to death? Is the course of facing one’s fear and not being swallowed up by it? Or it could it be possibly finding the courage to leave one’s comfort zone and set off on something new and unpredictable. Whatever a person gets out of this film will depend on their individual set of experiences and values. That’s the beauty of this film. There’s not just one story. There are thousands.
I imagine the best way to enjoy this film is with a group of friends and afterward discuss it over drinks and good food. It’s not a film purely for entertainment. It’s for thinking and reflecting.
The film opens on November 29, 2019, on Vimeo and Amazon.
Presented By: Subliminal Films