By Will Barber Taylor
Lady 18 (Tatiana Maslany) and Guy 3 (Tom Cullen) have a secret. They are members of a cult that believes if they die during a Solar Eclipse their souls will be taken to paradise. But that’s not their secret… They are also profoundly in love.
Science fiction films are often overlooked when it comes to awards and praise. They are seen as being less than so called “important” works of art. There is a snobbery in film towards science fiction which is disproved time and time again when innovative and emotionally powerful science fiction films are released which demonstrate that this isn’t the case, that you can make a film in that genre that is as intellectually stimulating and engaging as any other genre. That is why Souls of Totality is such an impressive film – it demonstrates that a science fiction film can stay true to its roots and thus prove that science fiction is not a genre to be looked down upon but rather one to be celebrated.
This is achieved by writers Kate Trefry and Ben Bolea. Bolea and Trefry’s vision of a dystopian environment populated by the adherents of a dangerous cult who want to end their lives during a solar eclipse so that they may ascend to paradise is a chilling one and feels all too realistic. By making the characters talk about mundane, ever day things whilst planning their own deaths, Trefry and Bolea makes sense of the nonsensical; how anyone can join such an establishment. Ensuring that the ordinary and the extraordinary mix so seamlessly is a true talent and both Trefry and Bolea deserves praise for guaranteeing that the scenario he presents us with never sounds outlandish or removed from anything the audience would expect of a cult.
The directing is also excellent with director Richard Raymond’s use of colour being particularly noticeable – beginning with a scene between Lady 18 and Guy 3 in the dark and creating a circular structure by which the final scene of the film is of them in the sunlight is excellently done. Raymond also uses nice contrasts with the white clothes of the cult members and the rather dark, lightless rooms in which they live almost as if they are in some purgatory.
Souls of Totality is an excellent, evocative piece of work that proves that science fiction films can be as powerful and enjoyable as films from any other genre. It is a sensitive, introspective and endearing film that deserves as much praise as it can get.