LIGHT YEARS | Screenplay Review
Written by JAROSLAW GOGOLIN | Reviewed by Anushka Dutta
The concept of “Light Years” is not something we have not encountered on the big screen earlier. But what makes it stand out is the thrill and mystery intertwined with the conceptualization of the plot. There is a sense of foreboding consistently throughout the progression of actions and the unfolding of events. A frightful agitation and terror always hang in the air, lucidly passing on the uneasiness of the characters to the readers.
Gogolin has succeeded in assembling one inciting incident after another, leading to a distinguished midpoint in the script and steadily climbing to a climax. The setup, confrontation, and resolution of the structure are coherent, with a riveting ending scene that could be enacted as a thrilling and uncanny cliff-hanger. The division between acts and scenes is distinctive due to the abundance of internal and external scene transposition. For this, Gogolin must unquestionably be applauded. There is scope for improvement, however, in the writing of the script. Some of the recurrent syntax and grammatical errors are missing punctuation, incorrect use of articles, misspelt words, and substandard sentence construction.
While Mira and Sam are the only breathing characters for the most part of the screenplay, their colleagues are introduced into the plot for the first time in a scene capturing their graves, as the camera pulls back and pans left to reveal the successive graves beside Sam’s, with dust-covered helmets on top of each: Jan Nowak – Water and Power Engineer, Chen Lee – Medical Doctor, Hana Nakamura – Psychologist, Arjun Anand – Communication and Monitoring, Miguel Lopez – Mechanical Engineer, and Sara Brown – Geologist. They appear once again in a dream sequence to Mira, as her psychological resilience visibly decays after the loss of her sole human companion to an Unknown Presence. Gogolin has proficiently shown his calibre in character development. Although not sentient, the character of the Robot is symbolic of human emotions and the lack of the same in a world so beautiful and calm that it does not breathe. “The hanging scarf looks like it protects the Robot from cold.” The equanimity, stillness, and mysticism of the universe captured in the aerial shots of the sky and horizon are contrasted skillfully with the series of shots portraying Mira driving in her buggy, unloading and immersing flasks into water bodies in a desperate search for life. The disparity is also upheld through the periodic episodes of life-and-death scenarios, running, falling, escaping; the curious languor, apathy, and words unsaid.
Coming to words, Gogolin does not assign any dialogues to any of the characters throughout the entirety of the feature screenplay. But the communication is never hindered. The characters convey plenty through gestures and actions, without having to utter a single word. It is for this aspect of the script that Gogolin’s work would be a great fit for the big screen. It would be no child’s play to execute a silent film. But with the right cast and an ingenious film crew, the screenplay of “Light Years” would be a huge success on screen.