Film: Fast Color

I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by the story of Fast Color (2018), but it’s an attractive and thoughtful science fiction indie I was happy make room for, if only for the chance to watch the appealing Gugu Mbatha-Raw at work. She stars as Ruth, a young drifter traveling the impoverished American Midwest during a near future wracked by drought and limited resources. Ruth possesses a mysterious telekinetic power that she’s never been particularly adept at controlling—except under the influence of narcotics. Now that’s she’s gotten clean, her powers have started to rage again, so she journeys to her remote family home to seek guidance from her similarly powered mother Bo (Lorraine Tossaint), who is looking after Ruth’s daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney). Unfortunately, on the way Ruth encounters a government scientist named Bill (Christopher Denham) who wants to take her to Washington for study—and likely exploit her abilities. Ruth eludes his initial attempt to capture her, but will she learn to control her powers in time to chart her own path?

There isn’t much in the way of compelling story to Fast Color, nor much depth to its science fictional backdrop and supernatural premise. But within the limitations of its budget, it’s an attractively realized tale that benefits from solid acting from Mbatha-Raw, Tossaint, Denham, and the always-reliable David Strathairn. A subdued thumbs up.

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