Reviewed by Clint and Heather McCrocklin
Starring B.J. Britt, Regine Hehy, Ingrid Andree, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Mehmet Kurtulus
Directed by Damir Lukacevic
At one point or another in our lives, we tend to question our mortality. When one gets to the end of the road, should he accept the fate of death? What if there were another option? What if that option was to transfer his mind into someone else’s body? Director Damir Lukacevic tackles this question in Transfer, where an advanced society’s breakthroughs in biomedical life-extension are used to explore racial identity and Western privilege over those living in the developing world.
The film opens with a consultation session for potential clients Herman (Hans Michael Rehberg) and Anna (Ingrid Andree), a wealthy German couple entering their twilight years. While both have ethical concerns about the procedure, Herman is deeply worried by his wife’s ailing health, and both fear the day that death will separate them. Their initial hesitation to the transfer procedure gives way after Anna learns that she only has a few months to live. She and Herman commit to purchasing the bodies of Apolain (B.J. Britt) and Sarah (Regine Nehy), two refugees from Africa who have been specially selected for their compatibility with the body and brain chemistry of the aging couple.
Under the conditions of the transfer, Herman and Anna have use of their new bodies for 20 hours a day. When they sleep, their hosts Apolain and Sarah return to consciousness and are able to use their own bodies for a period of only four hours. In the three months that it will take to complete the transfer from client to host, Apolain and Sarah fall in love. Remembering their past lives and beginning to realize the implications of their decision, Apolain formulates a plan for them to escape their eternal obligations so that they can run away together and start anew.
The beautifully shot and designed Transfer's intertwining themes of racism, socioeconomic differences, slavery, and generation gaps move the story along in such a way that every realization felt by the characters is sure to strike home with viewers. Britt and Nehy gave amazing dual performances as the poor immigrants and ailing rich couple inhabiting their bodies, easily transitioning between the host and client characters. At times it was easy to forget we were watching the same actors.
Adding to the overall feel of Transfer, the orchestral score complements, rather than distracts. Pacing-wise the story is slow so anyone expecting a physical and bloody horror will be disappointed in this subtle cerebral movie. However, for those looking for an examination of real issues that will spark debate, this one should not be missed.
The only minor issue with Transfer, which was hardly the fault of the actors or director, is the poorly executed subtitles that pop up for a split second and then vanish, barely giving the audience enough time to register that something flashed across the screen. In other scenes there was nothing being said by either actor, and subtitles from the start of the movie re-appeared, confusing everyone in the audience.
Overall it's an enjoyable thinking person's horror film that is also a cautionary tale of human rights and how we treat other people.
5 out of 5
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