Regarded as a genius, awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on black holes, “the Professor” is on the run having bluffed his way past the guard on the gates of the compound where he works. Now pursued by two parties, one is Ellen, an agent sent to retrieve him, the other an alien bounty hunter who seeks to kill him and retrieve the object he carries in his briefcase, a small black box he calls “the Henko.”
A source of power and information, the Professor has spent years gathering data on the human race to return to his people, the “Alpha Centurions,” the presumption being that it will trigger the final stages of an invasion of Earth, but the Professor tells Ellen that he hopes what he has learned will persuade his people to broaden the scope of their plans from either enslavement or total annihilation if he can relay his findings to them.
Described by co-writer Steven Farah as an example of “zero budget filmmaking” which still hopes to take its audience Beyond Existence, he and Christopher Butler have set a task for director Schuman Hoque to create the implication of an existential threat to the human race out of what is essentially talking heads, Amelia Clay and Gary MacKay moving through distrust and disbelief while pursued by Vincent Vermignon’s unstoppable Guardian.
The limitations of the production very much in evidence, interesting locations across the south of England are used for a bunker created for secret post-war experiments and the finale, but too much of the film is Ellen and the Professor arguing in a car with an obviously green screened background, he talking a great deal but saying little of substance while she prefers to know as little as possible about her assignment, no complications meaning no liabilities.
The Professor a chain-smoking alcoholic, like the visitors of The Man Who Fell to Earth or Under the Skin he has been overwhelmed by the contrast between the sensory possibilities of human life and the spartan existence of his alien identity, but constantly whining at every perceived inconvenience and indignity fails to convince of extra-terrestrial origin and all that is conveyed is the emotional void.
The wider idea that a whole species has been guided by an alien force as a prelude to subjugation paralleling Quatermass and the Pit, the ambition is lost in Hoque’s flat direction which inspires no nuance or complexity in the performances, an interlude in the bar owned by Ellen’s indifferent ex-boyfriend nothing but tiresome padding, Beyond Existence less A for Andromeda and more D for Disappointing.
Beyond Existence screened at the Amsterdam International Film Festival and the Boston SciFi Film Festival