Running time:103 minutes
Director:Wyatt Rockefeller
Release date:23 july 2021
Mankind's earliest settlers on the Martian frontier do what they must to survive the cosmic elements and each other.

Mulder's Review

Discovered during the Tribeca Film Festival, the first film written and directed by Wyatt Rockefeller, approaches science fiction in an original and effective way. Once again, this film shows that British independent cinema still has things to say and, above all, knows how to be perfectly topical. Indeed, while the worldwide pandemic of covid 19 has shaken the foundations of our current society and led to a real reflection on our current habits, this film deals in a way with the forced confinement and moreover on the planet Mars. While the space race seems to be regaining its vitality with a desire to make space accessible to all in several decades, what about life on another planet?

The director and writer Wyatt Rockefeller shows a real efficiency with reduced means to create a disturbing climate in which following an ecological disaster, an earth family tries to survive on a desolate property of Mars. Reza (Jonny Lee Miller, the Elementary series, Trainspotting (1996), Dark shadows (2012),..) and his wife Ilsa (Sofia Boutella, Star Trek Unlimited (Star Trek Beyond (2016), Atomic blonde (2017), Hotel Artemis (2018). The Mummy (2017).) do their best to protect their nine-year-old daughter, Remmy (The Flora project (2017), The LEGO Movie 2 (2018), The turning (2020)..), from the dangers of this inhospitable landscape. But when hostile strangers appear in the surrounding hills, Remmy becomes aware of the disturbing reality her parents have kept from her. She becomes the hostage of Jerry (Ismael Cruz Córdova, The Undoing), and as time passes, the likelihood of Remmy (now played by Nell Tiger Free, Game of Thrones) escaping becomes more remote, while Jerry's intentions become increasingly sinister. This film thus mixes in a reduced frame the futuristic thriller, the western and the science fiction film.

Settlers proves to be original in its will to constantly seek to blur the tracks and not to be satisfied with following the marked out paths of the films taking place on Mars. Far from relying on special effects, director Wyatt Rockefeller prefers to focus his attention on the psychology of the characters. Settlers is all the more successful as it leaves a permanent feeling of the end of the world in which the few survivors try to stay alive. One could almost expect to find the music of the cult series Twilight Zone in which what happens before our eyes is beyond comprehension but seems so real that it is totally frightening. The main characters in the film seem marked by a powerful tragedy as they flee an uninhabitable earth, what remains of our humanity seems to be living its last moments. When it is a primitive robot who saves the life of the young Jerry, we think that he has more humanities and reflexion than his invaders who are at the origin of this announced end of humanity.

Written and directed by Wyatt Rockefeller
Produced by Julie Fabrizio, Joshua Horsfield, Johan Kruger
Starring Sofia Boutella, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Brooklynn Prince, Nell Tiger Free, Jonny Lee Miller
Music by Nitin Sawhney
Cinematography : Willie Nel
Edited by Johnny Daukes 
Production companies : Jericho Motion Pictures, Intake Films, Brittle Star Pictures, 42
Distributed by IFC Midnight (USA)
Release date : June 18, 2021 (Tribeca), July 23, 2021 (United States) 
Running time : 103 minutes

Seen on June 14, 2021 (Tribeca Festival Online Press Access)

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