Aurora Fearnley took her idea for the short film Pulsar onto The Pitch back in 2013 and came away a winner. That was the easy part of getting the film made. Now, 6 years later, Pulsar has made its debut on Gunpowder and Sky’s Dust.
Jonah (David Gyasi, Annihilation, Hell On The Border) is a Peacekeeper. However, he’s troubled by what is to be his final mission, believing the people he is supposed to deal with bloodthirsty and evil. Too evil to deserve saving. Instead, he books transit on a cargo ship captained by Blake (Anna Koval, Ripper Street). However, when a magnetic storm strikes the ship, the crew suspect he may be cursed.
Running just about 15 minutes Pulsar is, of course, an updated version of the Biblical tale of Jonah. Thankfully it doesn’t come off like a sermon or get preachy. Indeed, I was well into the film before I noticed, despite the lead’s name being a huge hint. The religious angle is downplayed in favor of issues of judgmental attitudes, bigotry and facing one’s own issues and fears. And playing up the human aspects of the story make it much more relatable and universal.
The film also features some excellent effects work and performances. Fearnley was able to attract seasoned and excellent, if not big name, talent both in front of and behind the camera. And both were needed to make the script work. The effects, while they could have been worked around, really help sell the danger the ship is in. Thankfully Pulsar’s script was strong enough to attract that level of talent.
Pulsar is, after Pendulum, the second short from Dust that I’ve seen. If they are typical of the quality of the shorts it runs then I really need to spend some time checking out their YouTube channel.