July 20, 2018 Occupation (Movie Review)
Humans can only survive on Earth. No matter the destruction or social chaos, this is home. Many take for granted how precious that is. What if Earth was invaded? What if suddenly the only place humans can survive is forcefully taken away? What will become of humanity then? Presented by Saban Films, in theaters and available on VOD/Digital HD as of Friday, July 20, 2018, Occupation attempts to paint this very picture.
Written and directed by Luke Sparke (Yesterday is History 2014, Red Billabong 2016), it all takes place in a small country town in Australia. In turmoil, the factory has shut down and a new road is being constructed through the town. People are desperate to find a way to bring new blood into the town. A fair is being put on to try and raise money and awareness. Peter (Temuera Morrison: Star Wars Episode III 2005, Green Lantern 2011), his wife, son, and daughter Bella (Izzy Stevens: Underbelly series, Puberty Blues series) are just passing through, but stop to stretch their legs. Peter recently got out of prison and is trying to start a new life with his family. Bella is not impressed and wanders off alone where she meets Dennis (Zachary Garred: All Saints series, General Hospital series), a homeless man she is strangely attracted to. She has words with her father and goes off to watch the football game.
Matt (Dan Ewing: Chasing Comets, 1) is a former captain of the team, but no longer plays stemming from an injury that placed him in a coma. He is committed to playing today’s game, though, because it is for charity. His girlfriend, Amelia (Stephanie Jacobsen: Battlestar Galactica: Razor 2007, Alex Cross 2012) is worried but trusts him. Matt is well received by the fans. Not everyone welcomes his presence. The new captain, Jackson (Charles Terrier: Blinder 2013, A Little Resistance 2016), does not want him there to take scouts eyes away from him. Jackson is especially motivated to get recruited as prior to the game his girlfriend, Vanessa (Rhiannon Fish: Home and Away series, The 100 series), dropped the bomb that she is pregnant. The game is a struggle as Matt is still rusty from his injury. He and Jackson begin to fight when all of a sudden, the power in the town goes out. Confusion sets in as aliens begin to blast their way through the town. Some are killed, some are captured, and others flee into the woods.
Peter and Bella are together but cannot locate the rest of their family. Matt, Amelia, and her brother Marcus (Trystan Go: The Family Law series, Small Town Hackers series) are all together, but their mom is not. Jackson and Vanessa with them. Dennis and a few others also escaped with the group. With no other real option, the group as a whole decide not to give up without a fight and do what they can to rescue other survivors and hopefully save some of humanity.
They are out gunned. They are seemingly outnumbered. They are fighting a losing battle, but they will fight. They will do everything they can to survive. Can it work though? Will Amelia and Marcus see their mother again? Can Peter and Bella find the rest of their family? Can Matt lead a group of ordinary people to victory over the invaders? Can Earth survive?
Occupation is an enthralling alien invasion film. The premise is simple. Beings from another planet are trying to take over Earth. Humans are caught completely by surprise and have to decide what that means for their futures. No one is ever fully prepared for this.
One of the strongest pieces of the film is the characters. They are all ordinary but not all necessarily good people. Peter is an ex-convict. Dennis is a homeless vagrant. Amelia is a waitress that is going to law school. Matt is a former footballer now road crew worker with a head injury. Vanessa is a pregnant nurse and Jackson is a serious footballer. None of them are trained for war, yet all of their individual skill sets, and personal connections, make them the perfect group to help save the town. They are on their own, but together they just might have a chance. The takeaway here is even though the group have their differences and no clue what the outcome will be, they are still able to find a way to survive and fight together.
There are a lot of characters in this film. Each actor plays their roles radiantly. The real star of the cast though is Amelia. Her character is highly intelligent and determined, but still hopeful and compassionate. Though she does not always get her voice heard, she is the only one who truly stays level-headed throughout. Her portrayal of this fiercely strong woman is inspiring. She, out of all of the characters, is the most relatable and the one all viewers could only aspire to be.
Unlike a lot of invasion films. Occupation does not just last a matter of days. It is far more realistic then that. Months go by and humans are still fighting to stay alive. Characters are dirty and evolve their personalities and skill sets as time goes on. The writers and actors did an excellent job of portraying the evolution and exhaustion that must occur when fighting an uphill battle.
Another major difference is you do not ever really know exactly what is happening in the world outside of this one small town. Just like the characters, the viewer is isolated from any knowledge of the outside world. The only thing that matters are the people inside this town and defeating the aliens who are present. This effect helps the viewer fully feel the impact of the situation. It makes the entire scenario feel more real and personal; almost plausible.
As stated, Occupation is an alien invasion film. It sounds cut and dry, but it is not. It offers up a colorful cast of characters who show amazing strength and resilience through the unthinkable. It also allows the viewer to feel that they too, are trapped in this town not really knowing if survival is even possible. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock gives Occupation 4 out of 5 stars.