Perhaps inspired by a 90’s Hollywood hit, this Australian film takes the alien invasion film and drives it home with its intricate story of survival.
In the small town of Murwillumbah, lots of things are happening on this very day. For one, ex-Aussie Rules Football team captain Matt Simmons returns to the field to help his local team, much to the chagrin of new captain Jackson. Jackson has learned his girlfriend is pregnant. Peter is a former city man looking to start life anew with his family by moving into the town. However, no one expected what is about to go down on this fateful night, a night that changes everything.
During the football match, the lights go out and then a group of lights emerge from the skies. They reveal to be an alien force, who go about attack the field, killing some, injuring many others. Some of the townsfolk have been captured by the aliens. However, Matt, Peter, Matt’s girlfriend Amelia, Jackson, Jackson’s girlfriend, Amelia’s brother Marcus, and Peter’s oldest daughter Bella, along with a straggler who Peter’s daughter befriends eventually make their escape. When they are able to stop an alien and understand its technology, they soon become the catalysts as they prepare to fight a war they never imagined they would fight.
Alien invasion movies are quite the interesting genre. Most of them involve the fear of alien and discovering how to fight back. The problem with that can be that they turn into original action films that can be a dime a dozen. While there are blockbusters like Independence Day, other films tend to be well predictable. There’s some depth missing and with this film, it is clear that this film is not just about action, but the story of survival amongst the core cast makes this, in this reviewer’s opinion, slightly above Independence Day.
The film doesn’t rely on one or few main cast members, but an ensemble cast led by former Power Ranger Dan Ewing and veteran Temeura Morrison. Ewing’s Matt is the former football captain who seeks not only survival but a sense of personal redemption while Morrison’s Peter has the intention of starting his life over for him and his family only to be separated from wife and son. Stephany Jacobsen’s Amelia, Matt’s girlfriend, is a strong woman from the beginning and proves herself to be an even stronger woman throughout the film. Charles Terrier’s Jackson goes from Matt’s rival to his greatest ally in the war as the two learn to overcome their personal differences to ensure survival.
An interesting take in the film are the aliens themselves. In typical alien films, their reasons for invasion revolve around domination or for the sake of killing. However, these aliens tend to be smarter than most depicted onscreen. There is the technological advantage, but these aliens are also military specialists who not only rely on firepower, but brute strength and even go as far as kidnapping civilians to force them into a time warp of old school slavery methods. The action scenes involving the aliens are exciting to watch as well and brings a level of emotion on both sides of the table as there are intricate twists and turns that just make this a worthy sci-fi film. And on top of that, a sequel has already been announced!
Occupation is an above average sci-fi film that relies on taking a typical subgenre of science fiction film and enhances it with emotionally driven performances from the ensemble cast along with intricate plot twists and turns from both sides of the spectrum, ultimately making this a very worthy sci-fi that’s slightly better than Independence Day.
WFG RATING: A
Saban Films presents a SparkeFilms History Design production. Director: Luke Sparke. Producers: Carly Imrie and Carmel Imrie. Writer: Luke Sparke. Cinematography: Tony O’Loughlan. Editing: David Napier.
Cast: Dan Ewing, Temeura Morrison, Stephany Jacobsen, Rhiannon Fish, Charles Terrier, Trystan Go, Izzy Stevens, Zachary Garred, Charles Mesure, Felix Williamson, Bruce Spence, Ben Chisholm, Rhylan Jay Bush.