Capsule Review: The Short Film Goes the Distance

Movies about space and astronauts are easy to find, whether it’s space operas like star wars we know and love or human-scale sci-fi dramas like Gravity. One thing most movies set in space have is a seemingly endless cash flow and budget to make the stories seem out of this world. But it turns out that a low budget is perfectly fine for delivering tension, drama and humor in the Canadian short film space, Capsule.

Marc Desmarais, Francis Boehmer and Andrew Currie

The directorial debut of Toronto’s Dani Kind, best known for her roles in the CBC comedy working moms and cult TV fan favorite Wynonna Earp, Capsule is a moving and entertaining short film. With Michael Rinaldi and Andrew McKee and with music by Patrick Watson, Capsule is a great example of how talent and good storytelling can make for a compelling watch, no matter the runtime or budget.

Billed as a “short dark comedy about the human need for connection”, Capsuleis NASA astronaut Robert Ballentine (Rinaldi). Adrift in a space capsule, Robert is totally alone, his communications with his mothership having ceased for some time. Now, with the final days of his mission approaching and supplies dwindling, he and his ship have seen better days. By staying sane—or as sane as one can be in his situation—Robert avoids “space fever” by being bound to duty by his scientific experiments. As he ponders the end of his mission and longs for human contact, a surprise event brings unlikely salvation to a man who has lost all hope.

Score in less than 20 minutes, Capsule packs a surprising emotional punch. There are moments of gallows humor that reflect a genuine contemplation of human existence. It is an accomplished and ambitious start. Kind’s time in front of the camera translates well to her skill in the director’s chair as she guides Rinaldi through the story.

Set in one place with Rinaldi, who also wrote the screenplay, it’s very reminiscent of Matt Damon in The Martian on a smaller scale. Rinaldi’s performance is effective as he proves to be a true storyteller on the page and compelling on screen. Fun fact: Rinaldi’s ‘Toothpaste and Cigarettes’ play was adapted into the film The F-word with Daniel Radcliffe.

Funded entirely through an Indiegogo campaign and produced by an all-Canadian team behind and in front of the camera, Capsule packs a powerful punch in a short amount of time, making it one of the must-have shorts of the year.

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