Throughout the Buffalo International Film Festival, Bro Knows will be reviewing most of the films we see via micro reviews on our social media pages to ensure we can review as many of the festival offerings as possible. That said, as Bro Knows Editor, I was lucky enough to get to see some of the films ahead of time. One of those films just happened to be Prodigy. A sci-fi drama centering on a gifted little girl and a psychologists desperately trying to crack her concrete emotional barrier.
More psychological thriller than true sci-fi, the brainchild of director/writers Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal, Prodigy is a surprisingly stingy and emotionally effective narrative driven film that takes place almost entirely in a single room. Following a weary psychologist (Richard Neil) who takes on a unique patient in Ellie (Savannah Liles) as the two engage in a potentially deadly battle of intellect that could sink or swim either of their fates. A true cat and mouse story, where this film truly shines is in it’s incredible performances and well manicured dialogue driven narrative that blends the best of genre elements without being reliant on gimmick or visual effects. Not to say that there are no visually pleasing moments to be had, but more that those moments serve only to benefit the story and to allow the audience to catch their breath from the heavy analytical elements.
Bolstered by a game changing performance from Savannah Lilles, who packs a major punch for a pint sized actress, Prodigy is so much more than your typical sci-fi thriller. There is a real emotional impact that resonates from start to finish. Credit where credit is due, the writing, from narrative structure to heated dialogue, is what separates this from the typical fare this genre has to offer. If you were still confused where to start your BIFF experience this weekend, look no further than Prodigy, which screens at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, 341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, 14202 tonight at 9:15pm. This is a must see for anyone looking for an emotional impactful drama or a tense psychological thriller with sci-fi elements mixed in.
Be sure to follow Bro Knows throughoutthe weekend for reviews on all the films we see at BIFF 2017!