Anti Matter is the first full length feature film from writer/director Keir Burrows, who has previously written and directed around half a dozen short films spanning several genres including action and comedy. Here, Burrows continues to meld genres together by giving us a thriller built off of a foundation of science-fiction. Burrows uses this foundation as the jump-off to explore some very thought provoking concepts in his script. However, too many concepts are what ultimately start to bring the film down.
Things starts off with Ana (Burrows regular Yaiza Figueroa), a PHD student in England experimenting with electrons and matter. Her experiments and formulas lead her to discover a possible way of moving matter from what spot to another via a lab generated wormhole. She brings in her friend (and kind of, sort of love interest) Nate (Tom Barber-Duffy) who agrees that the numbers are leading them in the right direction but that more power will be needed for further exploration. This leads to the recruitment of PHD student Liv (Philippa Carson, another Burrows regular) who is able to hack the computer network in order to generate the necessary power for their research. Of course this all leads to a rushed experiment where Ana is the unfortunate test subject. The results of the experiment lead to the “what's happening to me?” premise of the rest of the film. From there the science-fiction aspects are placed into the background to focus not only on the momentum being created by the thriller/mystery angle, but to also touch upon some heavier philosophical concepts.
Ana's search for answers begins with scientific research but leads her (and the audience) into some brief existential territory. Having the existential concepts in the film bring us closer to the lead character, and even help with the films resolution, but they leave the audience looking for more. It's like asking someone a question that could lead to a really powerful conversation, but instead of having that conversation you just move onto another topic. As I said before it's the inclusion of all of these concepts that brings the film down. You don't really have the chance to absorb some of the deeper ideas Burrows is offering because he's already ahead of us with the next scene or idea. He also falls into some cliches along the way that really don't add anything to the film (i.e. a police detective investigating the hacking aspect).
Anti Matter has so much going on that it's almost confused as to what kind of movie it wants to be. It starts out with science-fiction but doesn't really re-explore this until the ending. Action and suspense dominate the second act bringing us to the edge of tension without being able to push us over that edge. Finally the existential ideas come up to conclude the film but by then you kind of wonder why we couldn't have talked about these ideas in the very beginning to let them drive us through the story. Even the tag line wants to think that it's something it's not (Science and hell have come together; sounds like a horror movie).
Keir Burrows is more than competent behind the camera and he has some really beautiful moments in this film. He brought in a strong cast that seemed natural around each other while also fitting the molds of their characters with ease. But by including all of his script ideas into the final product he made the viewing experience uneven, and not as engaging as it seems like it could have been.