There is a tried and true story that is told elegantly few times across a generation that garners criticism for being cliché and yet illustrates the beauty that is interpersonal relationships: People meet from worlds apart, bridging unthinkable barriers of disagreement to connect and come together through life’s various hardships. We don’t have to watch television to see these moving stories, nor must we read five hundred page classics to see these beautiful tales. For something to be so rich and organic, to call a work that executes just that is truly an endowment to those who crave it. Perhaps that is why something like the science-fiction wonder that is Patema Inverted is such a great film to experience.
After a scientific catastrophe sent a large percentage of humanity flying into the sky above, the survivors established a strict society that immediately gives off vibes of 1984- students sit in front of widescreen televisions and listen to lectures from their leader and are deducted points for so much as looking around. Of these students, one young man named Age, watches the sky above, losing himself in what might lie beyond. Deep underground from Age’s world, a different society of people, known as Inverts for their completely opposite gravitational pull, scavenge for whatever they might be able to find in tunnels and caverns of the dark. Patema, a curious member of this group, often sneaks out past the tunnels and peers into a large hole that light chases out of, wondering what (or where) the light might lead to.
As circumstance would have it so, one day whilst dodging a stranger by her go-to spot, Patema falls down the scarce light path. Seeing what appears to be a person flying straight to the clouds, Age climbs a fence and pulls in the dangling tunnel-dweller. Stowing her away in a nearby shed, the duo realizes their difference in perception of the world (personified quite literally) and connect. It isn’t done in an in-depth philosophical boulder rolling through as other stories of the similar theme might attempt, and the rest of the story is pretty straightforward, but somehow cutting down what it does just works.
One of my favorite aspects of this film had to come from how well the scenes were done, constantly dancing 180° shots without inducing the slightest bit of nausea (no easy task for someone who can get some easily from the “shaky cam” movies). When emphasis needs to be put on the fear Patema has with her situation, the shot captures a breathtaking suspense of the heroine clinging to a ceiling to prevent getting swallowed up from the stars below or Age exploring topsy turny depths in search of help. One of my two favorite scenes in the film comes when Patema sacrifices life and limb to daringly throw herself in aid of Age against the grain of inverted gravity. The way slow-motion works smoothly with the camera practically executing a ballet, with a breathtaking cut to full-motion and what followed. On paper that shot sounds done before, but the incredible part of it is not only how smoothly it goes, but also just how gut wrenching it felt.
Such a sweet and moving message was portrayed in the twist concluding moments of the film as a satisfying feeling overtook me as the credits rolled. A terrific example for using strength in overcoming differences in a small scope, Patema Inverted is great for fans of any genre or age, and is a must watch for anyone.
What’s a surprise hit movie you enjoyed? Did you like something that tested familiar waters? Let me know, and thanks for stopping by and reading this today. Have an outstanding day!