In 1997 a Canadian science fiction film Cube came out, and while it didn’t start out as an immediate hit, it slowly became a cult classic that spawned several sequels. The film had several things going for it. But the biggest appeal was the mystery surrounding the circumstance the characters found themselves in. The new Canadian science fiction film Control follows that same basic structure. It has a main character who is desperately trying to find her way to freedom as she tries to get away from a mysterious captor.
Control follows the story of Eileen (Sara Mitich, Star Trek: Discovery). She’s a woman who opens her eyes to find herself locked in a room with a pencil sitting on a table. A robotic voice tells her to move the pencil. And once she does she blacks out and is given another task. Eileen can’t remember anything about how she got into the predicament that she finds herself in. But she is willing to complete the series of tasks set before her in order to see her daughter again. Each task gets more and more complicated. And as she completes them she slowly starts to unlock her latent psychic abilities. It also unlocks her memories as well.
Control quickly gets viewers invested in the main character, making them want to figure out what’s going on just as much as Eileen does. Where it falters however is the repetitiveness of it all. The tasks don’t really feel all that different from one another, in fact several of them include moving a pencil. And Eileen always seems to solve them at the last possible second. Mitich does a great job in the role, and you really want to see her succeed. This is true even though as the film goes on that you get the feeling you aren’t getting her entire back story. What’s more impressive however is how much director James Mark gets out of the limited budget he’s got to work with. There aren’t a lot of different sets, or a lot of characters, but he manages to make due with what he’s got.
While Control does hold your interest and keep you entertained, it’s not something that’s going to blow your mind either. It’s a low budget science fiction film, one that feels like a low budget science fiction film from the 70s. It’s full of twists and turns that relies heavily on its lead and the script. In some ways it’s a lot better than many big budget films because of that. But you really need to go into it not expecting a whole lot.