The Gateway, Movie Review screened at FilmQuest 2017
A particle physicist, Jane Chandler (Jacqueline McKenzie—The Water Diviner and Deep Blue Sea) has been working with her assistant Regg (Ben Mortley—Pale Blue Eyes and The Woodcutter) on making teleportation a reality. They are close to a breakthrough in their research as they’ve been able to dematerialize items, but, they haven’t been able to get anything to materialize in the receiving chamber. A further complication is thrown into her research when her husband is killed in an accident.
While still grieving, she starts reviewing her research to bring her back to reality and her two children. At which point she comes up with an idea that might explain why the objects they’ve been teleporting are not rematerializing—they are being sent to a parallel universe. With a little ingenuity Jane is able to prove it.
But, Jane is still working through the grief of losing her husband, Matt (Myles Pollard—X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Tucker and Dale vs Evil). With what she has been able to prove, she comes up with a plan to travel to the other universe and find the man she’s lost.
If it wasn’t for the fact of the title and the marketing quote, the initial setup of the two teleportation chambers brings to mind the plot of a teleportation gone wrong story. Instead, it is a solid story bringing information from current research taking place around the world to heighten and deliver on the theme of being grateful for what you have.
What sets this movie apart are the subtle details used to illustrate the differences between the parallel universes. These are shown in the characters portrayed and the details added to the alternate universe to give it a different feel.
Wonderful acting brings each of the characters to life. The story is centered on Jane and Matt, and the writing of the characters really reflects that. The additional characters may not be as developed but they are what is needed to build the story.
I’m not saying the actors did poorly in portraying the characters, or even a breakdown in the storyline. They weren’t the focus of the story. The additional characters, especially the children played by Ryan Panizza and Shannon Berry gave some pungent points to the scenes, rounding out the story being told. They brought another level of emotional involvement, and a viewpoint of the differences in the alternate character that otherwise would not have been visible.
Myles Pollard as Matt and Ben Mortley as Regg had the opportunity of playing the same characters in two different “roles” (Jacqueline McKenzie, had scenes as her alternate also). The two actors created two distinct characters fitting to the setting they were from. Pollard gives us the Matt of this world and the Matt of the other world in great contrast to each other. He accomplishes the differences without having to be blunt.
To help set the mood of the alternate universe there were touches in the settings that set the tone. The lighting and coloration of the alternate universe immediately gave the feeling there is something different. There were also little touches added to the look of the characters and backgrounds to further the feel.
None of this would have worked if the science wasn’t done right.
I’ve followed science and have worked with a number of scientist, albeit not particle physicists, and The Gateway does a good job of representing the science. There was enough of the theory and practical activity being presented to give a sense of plausibility.
Teleportation has been getting more attention lately with the some of the research that has been coming out of places like Australia where The Gateway was made. I could tell consideration was given to current activity in the field. But don’t be worried if you aren’t a science geek. The information is delivered so that you don’t need to be caught up on the peer reviewed articles coming out of the journals. I felt the amount they touched on, and how they did it kept with the pace of what they wanted to achieve. Personally, I wasn’t thrown out of the story because they tried to get too much science involved, or skimmed over it too lightly.
I had the opportunity of seeing The Gateway at this year’s (2017) FilmQuest Film Festival. At the festival it was nominated for best screenplay, best actor (Myles Pollard), best actress (Jacqueline McKenzie), best VFX, where it was up for several awards including the screenplay and the two lead actors.
During the question and answers after the screening it was noted that the script for The Gateway started out as a time travel story. As they were working on it they felt there were a number of time travel movies already on the market and they wanted to do something different. They did.
Changing the story to dealing with a parallel universe works.
The other point brought up about the movie was they were looking at obtaining distribution in North America and Australia.
I liked The Gateway. A solid story maintaining a theme to give it cohesion from beginning to end. Enough detail to the research going on without being overbearing.
The story was compelling and there were twists that fit into the subtlety of the rest of the movie. We are given a promise at the beginning, and the promise is delivered. Even though, it may not be in just the way we thought it was going to happen.
The acting, directing, and cinematography were all well done. The feelings and mood of the movie were portrayed well.
I give The Gateway 4 out of 5. It is worth seeing.
Director: John V. Soto (The Reckoning and Needle)
Writers: John V. Soto, Michael White (a large list of science related books since 1992)
Time: 90 minutes