Sci-fi short “Loom” shows off new technology

With nods to "Blade Runner," Ridley Scott's son Lucas creates his own dystopian future in 3-D

Topics: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Movies,

Sci-fi short "Loom" shows off new technology A scene from "Loom"

Written and directed by Luke Scott (Ridley’s son), the sci-fi short film “Loom” is gathering attention and praise on both film and sci-fi sites as an example of the clear beauty of RED Epic 3D and the company’s new laser projector. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski does gorgeous work with the camera, bolstered by an atmospheric score, but it’s Scott’s script and direction, along with Giovanni Ribisi’s quiet performance, that demonstrate the 20-minute film has potential to be more.

Ribisi plays Tommy, a dogged lab tech of industrial food who, though once known in the business as “The Apostate,” seems to have rededicated himself to producing scientifically engineered meat. With deliberate nods to his father’s “Blade Runner,” the film portrays a dystopian future rife with genetic engineering, corporate corruption of government and rampant infection, but it’s really about Tommy’s loneliness and the at-home experiment he conducts, perhaps over and over, in attempts to get it right. We don’t know how or when his loyalties shifted, but “the human genome is not proprietary” is part of an answer. Tommy’s caught in a circular enterprise, trying to capture something he’s lost.

While the film is beautiful (even poetic), there are enough unanswered questions within the expertly crafted, suspenseful script to leave room for expansion. Viewer comments on various sites that have posted the film seem to agree that the visuals are sound but the story lingers in suspense mode too long for a brief self-contained piece, while also leaving too many unanswered questions.

You Might Also Like

The film ends on a heavy-handed note, with a lengthy voice-over quote from Darwin that would be better utilized as dramaturgical material than on-screen coda that somewhat inelegantly hammers home some of the film’s themes. Not every short film needs to be grown into a two-hour feature, just as few successful short stories need the larger canvas of a novel. But good novels can start out as a short project, only to find themselves outgrowing their tight format.

Recent precedent for short-shorts turned into features trend more to violent camp (not to mention delightfully cheap) fare, like Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” and Jason Eisener’s “Hobo With a Shotgun,” a gory and funny Canadian exploitation film starring Rutger Hauer as the titular character. Both started as fictitious trailer projects with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” (“Hobo” is also unexpectedly gorgeous, thanks to Karim Hussain’s photography).

Visually arresting sci-fi films demand higher budgets and expectations, but is there a reason why the short film format, screened primarily online, couldn’t be used as a test for larger projects before they go into big-budget production? Not as viral marketing campaigns, but legitimate workshops that offer a wide range of critical response. The online response to “Loom” could indicate that there’s room for growth, since viewers of the short version have said, though not always in so many words, that they want to see more.

Erin Keane
Erin Keane is Salon's culture editor.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>