Jonathan Brooks, Andrew McGee
In "Solus," a lone astronaut who has lost all contact with earth must find a way to survive alone on the international space station. With his food and water supply quickly diminishing, he has another more pressing matter - his slow descent back down to the planet. Complicating the matter further are instances of strange things happening both inside and outside the station. Things that should never be able to occur in the first place.
The story here is told in the form of video logs recorded by the astronaut as a way to pass the time, and as the film progresses, we get not only the science fiction element delivered to us but also a very cool potential snapshot of life aboard a space station. I'm not entirely sure about the accuracy of this snapshot, but from what I understand, a lot of research went into this portion of the film. The resulting science fiction film has the glow of reality, making the more universal sci-fi aspects all the more plausible. My biggest complaint is that the film ends right when you "feel" it's just starting - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's a lot to be said about leaving an audience wanting more, and because of the way this film was created, the ending is quite fitting—the perfect fuel for the imagination.
The cinematography and look and feel of the film itself are splendid. Amazing visualizations, excellent special effects, and a brooding background score all work together to create a claustrophobic experience second to none - and with good reason. The visuals and special effects are not studio-made - they are all real. Everything visual in "Solus" is actual footage taken from NASA.
By combing through NASA's library of public footage, Brooks has pieced together his short film. The shots of the astronaut floating around or watching liquid in zero gravity are all real - no visual effects artist needed. Even crazier? It all works so damn well. If you think this probably made things easier, you'd be mistaken. The sorting of the footage, research into how astronauts speak, and even the occasional instances we "see" the astronaut talking must have taken a considerable amount of work. The resulting short film, in a nutshell, is pretty cool to watch even if you're not a science fiction fan.
At the end of the day, "Solus" succeeds on many levels. I couldn't help but think that even if this title were not science fiction, it would still be an interesting watch. Jonathan Brooks and Andrew McGee have literally willed into existence a title that is both entertaining and interesting to discuss. Who else has made a science fiction movie using only pre-existing NASA footage? Nobody I'm aware of. Plus ... it's actually entertaining. Well done.