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First Look Review - FOREVER INTO SPACE

A group of twenty-something graduates stumble through recession era New York.


Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Greg W Locke

Starring: Kelly Sebastian, Oliver Fetter, Julianna Pitt, Jaz Valentino, Tyler Evan Rowe, Julia Kelly


"It is difficult to know how seriously to take Forever Into Space. As a snapshot of the Manhattan indie art scene, I would imagine it's pretty accurate, but one does wonder how well it would play in Peoria."


As a title card informs us at the end of Forever Into Space, this flawed but well photographed Indie was made for only $880.09 by just 12 people. It is tempting, then, to imagine that Forever Into Space is a product of art imitating life, as, situated in hipster New York, the film follows a group of young and disillusioned creatives as they put off the responsibilities of growing up, and instead embrace a would-be bohemia of introspection and ersatz art projects.
As characterised by Imdb, the relaxed plot of Forever Into Space tells ‘the story of Audrey Harrington (Kelly Sebastian), an over-educated and underemployed twenty-something film blogger attempting to make sense of the times while living in New York City during a period of societal change and cultural shifts’- and that really is about it as far as the storyline is concerned. Instead, a new wave fetishisation is evident in Forever Into Space’s predilection for tastefully framed long takes, jump cuts and a narrative that comprises of talk, lots and lots and lots of talk. Following the lead of its main character, Audrey (a film blogger!), the film ambles along with very little rhyme or reason, as Audrey and her boho pals avoid Real Life (the film’s nominal antagonist) and attempt True Art. The gang photograph each other, make (awful) music, wear the merchandise of bands they’re far too young to remember, and occasionally whimper homilies like ‘I used to never think about money, now it’s all I think about’, bemoaning that ‘illegal workers and computers’ have taken all the prime employment, and all that’s left for them is ‘the shitty jobs’. As a snapshot of the Manhattan indie art scene, I would imagine Forever Into Space is pretty accurate, but one does wonder how well it would play in Peoria.
It is difficult to know how seriously to take Forever Into Space. The film looks lovely; the sophisticated photography seems smitten with its good looking cast and even better looking surroundings. Presumably, we are meant to have sympathy for these kids and their struggles, but the fact is, they’re educated graduates, in their mid-twenties! Money is given lip service as a concern, but they seem to have a constant supply of weed and enjoy an existence so enviably glam it’s simply impossible to do anything but be outraged at their sense of entitlement (for a real exploration of the impact of recession, perhaps writer/director Greg W. Locke should have taken his camera downtown to the South Bronx…). Yet, in this spirit, at certain points the film poignantly criticises the lifestyle of its characters, with an older interloper berating them with an on the nose ‘you guys think everything is owed to you, you truly are the worst generation in history’, and, in a bravely self-reflexive move on the part of the film makers, another character dismisses Audrey’s blog as ‘another story about a pretty young girl living in the city, how original’. If only Forever Into Space had developed this satirical aspect then it may have an actual bite, but these barbs are rendered as simply that - sneers from adults who simply seem to regret their own lost youth (spoiler alert - at the end, the gang learn nothing, and instead manage to wrangle a deus ex machina that allows them to continue their profligate lifestyle interminably). Another aspect of the film that intrigues is the subplot involving Audrey’s flatmate Lauren (Julianna Pitt), a model who has turned to the murky underground of pornographic acting to support herself. Now there’s a film - how do people get involved with that world? What sort of pressures does it entail, and how do they break free of it? Again though, this plot thread is overlooked for more sequences of Audrey wandering around Manhattan looking serious and pretty, or the gang on the Staten Island ferry getting drunk.
The digital revolution has allowed films like Forever Into Space to be created for very little money indeed. While it is doubtful that any old chancer could make a film as strikingly shot or well performed as Forever Into Space, the fact remains that, given a few hundred quid and enough time, anyone can be a film maker now. When the playing field is as open as this, having something to say counts more than ever, and the existing rules of cinema take on austere significance. Indie Cinema shouldn’t simply be a pose, a series of animated photographs; story, purpose, organisation, these things still count. Stylish and potentially witty, Forever Into Space is not without promise though; I look forward to the talent and energy behind it imposing meaningful structure within this indeterminate space.




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