Earlier in the year I saw a film, which will remain nameless in order to avoid spoilers, that featured a brief interlude in which the characters watched roughly five minutes of a tangential, pastiche-heavy, version of a Soviet sci-fi film. Seth Ickerman’s (the singular pseudonym for directors directors Raphaël Hernandez and Savtiri Joly-Gonfard) Blood Machinesis the extended version of those five minutes. Oh, it isn’t really, but it is. Ickerman’s pseudo-feautre is the perfect (barely over forty minutes) length to be a made-for-television Space Channel special, and encapsulates the matching aesthetics to boot.
The aesthetics are the main draw to a film such as Blood Machines. How well can it evoke the general trappings of the sandbox it lives in, is the general question that it wishes to ask. The film could, probably, move outside of the sandbox to the beach. But instead, it’s very content to make the best possible sandcastle it can without having to move out of the playground. And it’s ultimately a very strong sandcastle. The flickering grain and silver in particular is a delight! As is Carpenter Brut’s incredible synch laden score. It’s all a mood.
The plot is merely an ancillary consideration. For those who are interested, Ickerman’s film revolves around an artificial intelligence (Noémie Steven) with a glowing cross on her stomach (think Leeloo’s cloth dressings in The Fifth Element), who escapes a ship controlled by the cruel Vascan (Anders Henrichsen). From there is a deep space pursuit replete with a cavalcade of neon colours, laser-based firearm combat, some body swapping, and a commentary on masculine destructive capabilities. It’s the hardest of science-fiction, akin to your most yellowed of drugstore paperbacks. I kind of dug it, but those who felt trepidations just reading this definitely won’t.