Spoilers are floating right behind you.

I like science fiction films in all its subgenres. That’s even when there’s just a little too much fantasy to properly fit the category or way too much action to properly appreciate the actual science part of the equation. I’m glad to appreciate a slow paced sci-fi feature such at this one, where the focus is on worldbuilding and lore runs parallel to its storytelling and crafting a storyline worth your time.

VESPER (2022) is directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper who co-wrote it with Brian Clark. It’s a dystopian future (I know, keep reading…) in which the civilization survives in full luxury inside citadels. However our story focuses outside, in the swamp of toxic waste where nothing grows. The only hope is seeds that are genetically locked to only produce one season, one harvest and no more. Among the humans left to survive here is Vesper (Raffiella Chapman) who is trying to keep herself and her ailing father (Richard Brake) alive. Vesper’s father can only talk to her and follow her movements through a floating drone.

All this despite the local loan shark Jonas (Eddie Marsan) hoarding resources and forcing indebted children to do his bidding. Jonas wants nothing more than have Vesper at his mercy. An unexpected event has Vesper running into the survivor of a glider crash from the citadel, a young mystery woman named Camellia (Rosy McEwen). Hoping this would be the key to save his father, Vesper shows Camellia her own experiments in bioengineering. With Jonas and the Citadel closing in, Vesper is running out of options.

This film showcases an incredible display of worldbuilding skills, creating fantastic scenarios where clusters of survivors live a life of constant scavenging and foraging the byproducts of large cities. Because of that, the pacing feels slow but is used to develop our cast of heroine, princess, mentor and villain into full fledged character we care about (or hate). We want to see their fate in the end and hope for a satisfying conclusion. That does not necessarily mean a happy ending and I’m glad about that.

Highly recommended for science fiction enthusiasts. The film is strongly performance based and highlights the worldbuilding of the lore created for the film, which is rather vast. The pacing is slow and might prove challenging for some audiences, but this one’s still definitely mixed with enough adventure themes to follow along. Well worth a thoughtful watch and perhaps a second one for those enthusiastic viewers trying to catch all the details in the background.

That will do for now.