Science has helped society in far too many ways to count. Aside from the major discoveries like medical advances, there have been many more ‘minor’ breakthroughs that have changed how we live our lives in ways that are almost too minuscule to notice, but which have taken us closer to a more utopian society.
Anti Matter (the first feature film of Director Keir Burrows) takes a look at one of the more theoretical aspects of physics and weaves it into a tale that will leave you on the edge of your seat as the intrigue deepens.
The film centres around Ana, a young PhD student at Oxford University who accidentally discovers how to create wormholes during a routine experiment. As time goes on, she and her colleagues expand their research until, one day, they send Ana through as a test. However, once that happens, things start to go wrong, and Ana begins to question the motives of her friends and just what happened during the experiment.
Whilst it is a little slow to start with, Anti Matter comes into its own after the first fifteen or so minutes, after the wormhole experiments begin to take off. From there, the film manages to expertly weave a narrative that hearkens back to Memento and Primer, keeping the audience guessing just where the plot is heading before the final reveal brings you back to earth with a bump.
Despite the engrossing story, there are a few plot points which leave you scratching your head. For example, the main catalyst for the events of the film is caused by the scientists’ need to obtain funding, which seems incongruous when you consider that the main characters have managed to completely redefine science as we know it. In fact, they have created something with so many varied applications that they could sell their technology for any price they wish. Another example is the animal rights activists; lacking in characterisation, yet with the potential to play a bigger role than just being scape-goats at several key moments.
Another positive aspect is the cast of talented, but relatively unknown actors, who carry a strong chemistry between one another but especially around Ana (played by Yaiza Figueroa), whose narrative is followed. As previously mentioned, some of the characters feel like they need a little bit more fleshing out before they can become truly interesting, but there is more than enough potential for them to grow into something more multi-faceted.
The cinematography of Oxford and its surrounding areas is sublime, utilising a number of tracking shots and slow pans to create a calm atmosphere before cutting to a series of rapid shots and shaky hand-held camera for when the tension mounts to even greater heights. As the mystery grows ever deeper, the camera work becomes more frenetic as it attempts to express the confusion felt by the protagonist as she attempts to uncover what is happening.
Anti Matter is a wonderfully absorbing film. The characters are great fun to watch, and their confusion and desperation to find an answer to their predicament keeps the audience enthralled. Despite a few plot points which don’t quite add up, there is more than enough to keep you hooked right up until the end.