As humanity continues to evolve and we make discovery after discovery about ourselves and the universe we inhabit, it begs the question: how different would we be if we reached the stars that lie beyond us? The low-budget sci-fi drama Prospect, which was released in 2018 but is now streaming on Netflix, provides an interesting yet bleak answer to this question. The answer: we don’t change much. If anything, the film shows us that if humanity does begin our final exodus amongst the seas of space, it just allows for further avenues of greed and depravity. This film is bleak yet brutally honest in its vision of our species and its future.
The film takes place in space, centering around Damon (Jay Duplass) and his daughter Cee (Sophie Thatcher) who approach a forest moon rife with opportunity in the form of a rare and valuable gem produced solely there. It is never actually stated in the film what year this future tale is set in, and this could be in favor of the film's story. In not allowing the audience to know exactly how far away from our present time the film takes place, the film dodges the pitfalls of people questioning how the future looks and functions as compared to how the world is now.
Shortly after they arrive on the planet, Damon and Cee run into a man named Ezra (Pedro Pascal) which eventually leads to an unfortunate stream of circumstances motivated almost solely by greed. Without spoiling too much of the actual plot, one of the messages in this story is about forgiveness. The idea of forgiveness also transcends to show that the world is not a mix of black and white, but rather a hard-to-accept shade of gray; people are not always easily categorized into being good or bad. The ability to show basic human decency forms the backbone of this intimate story. The intimacy of the story is compelling, even though it does hint at a much larger world and society.
The production design and creativity of the world on display in every single frame is truly phenomenal. The crew made good use of their limited budget and proved that sometimes less is more. Prospect shows, through great skill and craft, that humanity is full of surprises, and that forgiveness might not come easily, but the journey to accepting and giving it can be worth the struggle. (Rated R for some violence/bloody images. Netflix)