Arrowhead is a personal character study centred around Kye, a mercenary stranded on a planet who ultimately must face his own mortality after becoming infected by a parasitical alien presence.
Writer/Director Jesse O’Brien has marketed this unique Aussie sci-fi to an international market, using American accents despite the Aussie cast that is led by Israeli-born Dan Mor. It’s insulting to think that the marketing behind this highly enjoyable film felt the need to hide it’s origins despite internationally successful Australian films including recent flicks like The Babadook, Mad Max: Fury Road and others.
As the lead actor, Mor easily carries the story on his broad, bare shoulders. He spends much of his time shirtless, flaunting his muscular physique, which often seems little more than soft porn when you consider that his werewolf-like transformations into an alien creature never impact on the skin-hugging clothes he’s otherwise wearing. That said, Mor provides enough depth and pathos to distract from his torso, and is well cast in the Jekyll and Hyde role.
The unrecognisable voice of Shaun Micallef is Kye’s only companion for much of the film, being the onboard artificial intelligence of the crashed spaceship. He also provides one of the few Aussie accents to be heard in this South Australian made flick and Micallef is chilling in his emotionally-detached assessment of every situation, to the point of suggesting that the best course of action would be for our protagonist to kill himself. Such malice-free advice is delivered with icy neutrality.
The visual and special effects are of the highest quality despite the low budget of the film which was primarily shot in Coober Pedy. Kudos to the effects team.
Ryan Elliott Stevens’ music adds to the drama without overtaking it, which is no easy feat when much of the film is based around one man on a barren planet.
Arrowhead is an intriguing sci-fi drama that will be sure to gain a loyal following. It’s not action-packed, but it’s not pure drama either. It falls in-between and offers a lot in-between. The story is both refreshing and intriguing, so that those who take the time to discover it should be pleasantly surprised.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 8
Arrowhead will be released on Blu-ray with UltraViolet, DVD & Digital from 9 June 2016.