Sci-fi is a broad church; for every cowboys and aliens laser-gun spectacular, there’s a thoughtful, meditative think-piece; the key thing is the idea. Nicholas Aske Bateman’s debut film is very much in the latter camp; if you dug films like Undergods, Red Moon Tide or Upstream Color, you’ll know the kind of movie we’re talking about. The Wanting Mare has an obscure title, and pushes hard against our expectations of what a film might be. It’s hard-going at times, but the pay-off is good, and sci-fi fans with open minds will want to check this out.
Where to begin explaining this story? We’re in a post apocalyptic place named Anmaere, and there’s few connections to the world we know. The populace hunger, not for food or fuel, but for tickets that might allow them to travel on a boat loaded with horses that leaves every year from the port of Whithren to travel to the promised land of Levithen. A mother passes her dream, and her curse, to daughter Moira (Jordan Monaghan), whose coast-line reveries are interrupted by an intruder (played by Bateman) who might offer the ticket she seeks.
What does this mean? Is the horse ship symbolic of love, life or death? Since we rarely get a look at what’s mentioned, it’s hard to put an exact value on the elusive images, which are always good to look at. With some location shooting, Bateman created the bulk of The Wanting Mare in a studio in Brooklyn, making creative use of green screen and attesting to the influence of David Lowrey’s The Green Knight, which Bateman worked on as a VFX artist. The result is an elusive, poetic film that seems to be fizzling out before the narrative kicks in with a surprisingly satisfying ending.
Leaping forward in time, yet looking at how several generations of Moria’s family wrestle with the challenge of transcending their environment, The Wanting Mare is a unique film that works as a mood piece, but also dazzles the eye with some world-building that’s aiming at something more than a franchise. The Wanting Mare is a tricky, difficult film, but those seeking to have their minds blown won’t be disappointed if they pay close attention.
The Wanting Mare is available to rent or own on digital HD from Bulldog Film Distribution on 7 February 2022
Always game for a thoughtful piece of sci fi especially if I’m forewarned and not sitting there wondering when the monsters or battles are going to begin. Ad Astra probably the last I saw that fell into the thoughtful bracket. Not sure if superheroes are allowed to think before they act.
This is difficulty level 10/10 but it’s worth the hike…not quite the same animal as Moonfall…
Sigh. No gravity wave then?
I’m afraid not. Different kind of sci-fi.
Ah, this sounds excellent. If I ever do a sci-fi themed week again, this’ll be on the list.
It’s for smart people only, so you should be fine.
♪Mares just wanna have fun♪
That’s what Donkey (from Shrek) would have sung if he’d gotten into this movie. But as we all know, Hollywood is a hugely speciest place, which is why he’s not in it.
How do you know he’s not?
Because otherwise you’d have mentioned it.
Something that important would be front and center in your review.
Good to know when people are doing fresh and innovative stuff, but think I’ll keep my mind intact.
Looks like the whole top of your head gets taken off in the picture. That can’t be good.
I concur. It is nicely photographed though.
Looks ok to me…
That’s what I said!
What are you viewing it on? Looks fine to me…
Sigh. It’s not a horror movie, what more can I do?
Nothing really it’s your job to review movies and your readers job to decide whether or not they want to see it, so we’re all doing grand.
If my mind isn’t blown, do I get a refund?
Your mind was blown some time ago, Bunty.
But not by this movie!
What blew your mind? Charlie Chan?
Can you explain what you liked about it?