‘Settlers’ Review: Interstellar Colonialism on Mars
Billionaires are rushing to colonize space, but how could it be if they were to ever succeed? Wyatt Rockefeller’s (one of those Rockefellers) sci-fi thriller “Settlers,” tackles this vision, but only succeeds in telling a clumsy warning of property and violence on the planet Mars. It would make perfect sense for this film to side with Jerry (Ismael Cruz Córdova), a native of Mars who hopes to get his land back. Instead, he portrays him as a deranged savage.
“Settlers” is divided into three chapters, each centered around a key figure in the life of a young girl named Remmy (Brooklynn Prince). Her father, Reza (Jonny Lee Miller), is a protective and angry man. He warns Remmy and his mother, Ilsa (Sofia Boutella), not to stray too far from their remote ranch. Soon, her paranoia is revealed to be true when Jerry appears. It turns out that Jerry’s family owned the land before Reza and Ilsa ousted them. He wants to get his house back.
While this may be a simple fable about the evils of colonialism – the twist being that Remmy and his family are the real intruders – Rockefeller’s muddled script makes Jerry the villain, and he quickly makes Remmy’s life hell. Jerry (notably played by a Puerto Rican actor) will stop at nothing, including murder, to lead a successful life on Mars.
It has all the attributes of a movie that should know what it’s doing: awesome special effects, polished cinematography, stunning art direction. Sadly, not all the money in the world can save this rotten tale, which culminates in a scene depicting the attempted rape of a teenage girl. The “settlers” claim to challenge violence against women and colonialism. Instead, the female protagonist wallows helplessly for most of the film, and a square robot is ultimately presented as nicer than an out of place brown man.
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 43 minutes. In select theaters and available to rent or purchase on Apple TV, Google Play, and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.
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