Connor Hurley’s The Naturalist raises many questions of what if or would I? In a different twist, the concept of sexuality is never explored in science fiction movies. This film is described by its director as a gay-themed sci-fi that presents a taboo version of the future which forces viewers to consider some difficult questions. If, given a choice, would a person consider changing their sexual orientation? Other issues are raised in the film such as genetic engineering. Hurley presents a character based short that is science fiction theme focusing on emotions rather than action sequences.
The Movie – The Naturalist
Simon and Oliver are partners that live in a dystopian society in the future that use genetic therapy to cure all societies abnormalities. They live in a peaceful, secluded place that is threatened by disruption when a routine police check detects an anomaly. Simon turns to a friend Eden who is an heiress that has been genetically-modified for some help when they are threatened with relocation. Simon is faced with the toughest choice of all, between his own life and the life of his lover. The Naturalist is a through encouraging, ambitious short that questions sexuality as a choice whilst forcing people to look at the themes of genetic modification. Open minds are required throughout this film.
The Director – Connor Hurley
This film was created for his graduation from the Tisch of the Arts. Hurley entered the world of filmmaking with a splash and had demonstrated his talents for innovation and impressive production skills. Hurley avoids the use of FX visuals that are not necessary to paint his picture for the future. Instead, he and his team use some carefully considered designs that combined futuristic and retro elements. This creates a timeless story. The apartment the couple lives in looks like it is from decades’ past while the police and outside world introduce the element of future with their retina scanners and glass devices.
The director used classical cameras and modern mixers to create the image of nostalgia vision of the future into his methods of production but combining the cameras equipment from analog/digital years. Hurley was inspired by Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville to create this cinematic aesthetic of a short and relying on natural light. There are no mistaking Hurley’s talent and attention to detail which is very evident in this film.
The Naturalist is relevant because it displays qualities of being unique, emotional and entertaining. This film is full of all these elements and more, and it is clearly the message of the director came through in a big way. The element with this film is not only the great directing and camera equipment but the questions that the viewers are forced to ask and debate about. This film is different and out of the box because it is so in your face. This is the reason why Hurley is excepted to direct and produce many more hits.