Alien Code (2018) – Michael G. Cooney

Somewhere along my prowling of the internet, I stumbled across the trailer for this film, and was suitably intrigued enough to add it to my viewing queue. Watching it, there’s an intriguing premise, a well-orchestrated execution of subject matter despite budget constraints, and despite overreaching on its subject matter (seemingly wanting to throw every piece of alien conspiracy into the pot without showing any UFOs), it ends up being a solid little science fiction thriller.

Featuring a recognizable cast composed of Kyle Gallner, Azura Skye, Mary McCormack and Richard Schiff, the fast-paced tale (clocking in at just over an hour and half) follows a cryptographer, Alex (Gallner) who is persona non grata with the business world due to being thrown under the bus by the NSA for his installation of backdoor codes in businesses.

So it should come no surprise when Rebecca Stillman (McCormack) shows up on his doorstep claiming she works for a company known as A.R.I.S.T. which has done work for NASA and the NSA. She has a job for him.

It seems a unknown satellite has been placed in Earth orbit, and contains an encrypted message, but so far, no one has been able to decrypt it. Enter Gallner, who after signing the NDA, finds himself encountering a number of familiar tropes of the alien conspiracy genre – time issues, encounters with men in black, and seemingly impossible technology.

After his part is done, he is let go with the warning that he will be under surveillance, but that doesn’t stop him from hunting down another cryptographer, Beth Carter (Skye) and eventually her contact, Miles (Schiff) who lays out as well as he can what is really going on.

How’s your understanding of temporal physics, and causality?

There’s a lot that the film asks you to wrap your brain around, and for the most part, it does a fine job in simplifying things so everyone can catch the jist of what is being discussed. But the closer we get to the end of the film, the more troubling some of the film becomes, especially when you learn how those thins that are interacting us perceive time – how then can they interact with us on a linear level?

And there’s the whole final confrontation between Alex and whom/whatever, but it reveals that the most important thing we have is the time that is given us, and what we do with it. Sure, it’s wrapped up in science fiction, and alien conspiracy trappings, but it’s there. It also suggests that if you know that you can’t change what happens, then don’t really worry about it, just be as happy as you can until it’s too late.

That part didn’t sit very well with me, but I do like a lot of the rest of the film, as well as how it was produced.

It may not be your jam, but this little alien conspiracy corner of the science fiction genre, tying in with contacts and UFOs, is always going to draw my attention. The acting is solid, no matter where you come down on the story, and the effects are surprisingly solid; for what it was, I enjoyed it.

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