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Simon Read [Celluloid ] scifi thriller In many ways Terminus is just the kind of low-key, apocalyptic, sci-fi thriller which we appreciate so much around here.

With a stripped-down, minimal aesthetic, focus on developing characters and relationships, and an ever present sense of tension, doom and dread, there's a lot for PA enthusiasts to enjoy here.

They bicker and brood, and occasionally come together in forgiveness, and while the actors' performances are certainly admirable, we never wholly invest in their relationship, which feels as though it lacks a requisite resonance.

Similarly, Agent Stipe and his colleagues have little to do apart from drive around, look at computer screens and occasionally murmur vague concerns about the escalating war and their desire to find the alien pod.

Simply considering how well the film projects its own sense of fearful apprehension and foreboding, it's well worth a watch... TERMINUS FILM REVIEW: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS MEETS COCOON Classic sci-fi is homaged in Australian-set thriller Terminus By Oliver Pfeiffer Terminus may initially beat to the same dystopian drum as some recent unnamed sci-fi (albeit on a far smaller scale), but what it lacks in narrative originality it makes up for in carefully developed character introspection and pleasingly old-school aesthetics.

Marc Furmie’s feature film debut follows widowed dependable David Chamberlain (Jai Koutrae), a small-town mechanic with a drinking problem and a feisty young daughter (Kendra Appleton).

David and Annabelle are sympathetic characters, but not particularly interesting ones.

Their story frequently looks and feels like an after-school TV drama which happens to have a sci-fi twist.

Even weirder though, that kidney he donated to his wife years ago seems to have reappeared inside him... David returns to the crash site and grabs the pod, and this is where things start to get a bit complicated.

Just seeing the mixture of emotions, the sense of fear, hurt and anger on display, it reminds us how effective it can be when we chance upon a genuinely excellent performance in a film.

There are no actively 'bad' scenes or performances, but the really good parts often serve to highlight the more mediocre.

So, as an exercise in world-building, this film is certainly grim, but in maintaining focus on the characters' histories and their hopes, while also suggesting that the doomsday clock is ticking ever closer to nuclear armageddon, director/co-writer Marc Furmie ratchets up the tension, keeping us involved in each storyline as the film progresses.

This is, unfortunately, where certain problems emerge.

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