Dreams are incubators for dissatisfaction, Martins seems to sigh.
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Though they never call much attention to themselves, the expertly illuminated frames of cinematographer Leonardo Feliciano (“Araby”) paint the ensemble cast with purposeful and aesthetically pleasing lighting.
Tracking the personal anxieties and challenges of the family members as they pursue differently shaped dreams of escape, it is sincerely meant and deeply affectionate toward its decent, striving foursome, but it’s a little disorienting that it should cue up a gut-punch only to deliver a hug.
The film’s structure allows us to spend time both together and individually with each character, veering off with them for a day at the office, school, dance club, or park. It is simultaneously a slice of life and a film about the bigger picture.
Martins strikes a delicate balance that’s unusually satisfying from a narrative perspective. It’s refreshing to witness characters grow outside the traditional beats of most American dramas. There is an abundance of heroes’ journeys in waking up every day and pushing past surviving to thriving.
The film is quiet, deliberate and low-key, and some may find it underwhelming, but writer-director Gabriel Martins has a novelist’s feel for his characters, taking us under everybody’s skin with deep sympathy for their differing outlooks.
Mars One revels in the lives of its characters, taking a leisurely and scenic route to understanding their dreams and realities.
Some not great things happen in Mars One. And there is agony. But there are also the good things done in response that keep families like these soldiering on.
It’s quite simple in structure, simply sublime in execution.
Insightful, kind and exceptionally well-acted, Marte Um reminds its characters that they’ll find what they need if they just keep looking.