The Gateway Review
With national success of his last two films, director John V. Soto brings us his highly anticipated new film The Gateway. The experienced Jaqueline McKenzie (Deep Blue Sea, Romper Stomper) takes on the lead role in this sci-fi thriller as particle physicist Jane Chandler who discovers a portal to other universes. With the untimely death of her husband, she travels to the other side in a quest to bring her husband back from the dead.
This ninety minute feature had all the ingredients of an “edge of your seat” thriller, but missed the mark. Badly. Shot in the Aussie suburbs, it immediately felt like a student film on a low-budget that you’d share with friends in family. Feeling like a B grade movie at best. The ‘alternate’ universes, being nothing more than a subtle change of contrast & colour, at times making it difficult to follow. This was only emphasised with the script having some irrelevant parts where common sense went out the window. Rapidly ejecting me out of the narrative and realising that this wasn’t going to be a sci-fi thriller I had hoped for.
With the talented Myles Pollard playing her onscreen husband, I was surprised to see the lack of chemistry between himself and McKenzie. While there are several attempts to reaffirm their relationship with quirky gestures and flirtatious banter, it looks forced and awkward to say the least.
Up and comers Ryan Panizza and Shannon Berry play the couples children as high school students, and I use that word loosely as these two resemble youth who have just hit their early twenties. Even though I can appreciate the effort in what Soto was trying to accomplish, a large portion of this film looked messy and stuck. Hitting a confusing and almost laughable stride from the first scene. The Gateway being a great example of a film that dragged out much longer that it needed too, enough material and ideas for an outstanding short film. The supporting actors Hayley McElhinney and Ben Mortley outshone the lead roles on this occasion, playing their parts with precision and were the only glue that held this film together.
Taking into consideration the talent and experience of what was on offer I expected better. From the lack of creativity with shots and cinematography, to the lack of direction for the actors, this is a film you can imagine playing in the background. With all that being said,The Gateway is intriguing enough with an interesting concept, just poorly executed. If you’re looking for a night out with a touch of light hearted entertainment I invite you to see The Gateway, hitting selected cinemas May 2nd.