Wannabe filmmaker Jake (Ed Gonzalez Moreno) is facing personal turmoil in the light sci-fi thriller, The Alternate. In the opening act, we discover this person has issues. He’s not feeling satisfied with his life. Since graduating from film school, he’s been making ends meet by producing corporate videos rather than pursuing the Hollywood dream.
I’m sure some people have asked this question at some point: Is it possible to find that success that one has been craving all their life? The answer lies in what an individual will do to achieve it. To cheat at it often leads to trouble. Jake dreams of being a producer like Stephen Spielberg. He has a feature film in the works; Space Drive is an idea he’s having difficulty getting off the ground. Ironically, the title of that passion project doesn’t exist, since he’s not even made a proper pitch and proof of concept to shop around.
Sadly, all of that is on hold. What he has to do is to edit videos about things he doesn’t like, and one night, he notices something weird with the image. When he zooms in on it, what he discovers is an anomaly. It’s a fractal pixelation, and what he does with this problem is to turn it into a screensaver. The idea is amusing, but what he soon discovers is that it’s a wormhole!
I’m amused that he doesn’t use that terminology, but for space nerds like me, I knew what it was. It’s a puncture in time and space and where it leads it to a mirror universe instead of another part of ours. Jake investigates, and he finds that an alternate version of himself is happy, has a daughter, and his motion picture is hot. That life is good. When he spies on his other self, that’s when this feature dwells on some dark what ifs. Unlike Everything, Everywhere All At Once and Multiverse of Madness, this story by Alrik Bursell is more of a character study.
Jake’s plans aren’t a surprise. I knew what his goal was from the get-go, and to watch when he makes the switcheroo is as wicked as an Alfred Hitchcock film!
To show Jake’s wife Kris (Natalia Dominguez) that there’s only one man to love means she doesn’t know her husband that well. Even their child would have noticed something. Usually, that kind of recognition falls to the least likely figure. But there’s no pet cat or dog to hiss at the fake Jake. When Jake Prime shaves his beard off, I knew he wanted to change his image. But he’s not ready to become Mr. Hyde in the classic Robert Lewis Stevenson sense yet. And as for watching how deep into the rabbit hole Jake Prime would go to change his life around is troubling. He really isn’t a bad guy. He fell into an unpleasant situation. I love the poetic irony of Bursell’s screenplay. Jake could have turned his life around easily–had he been listening to the person he’s filming in the opening minutes of this movie. The CEO he’s supposed to direct says it all, but instead, he’s not even paying attention.
The later events that we see after his discovery is predictable. It’s not terrible that I knew what’s coming a mile away because of the film synopsis. And what I got to watch is straight out of Classic Star Trek. Captain Kirk even had problems with making good or bad choices. At the end, he had to try to convince the other that they need each other (“The Enemy Within”). It’s not easy being whole.
4 Stars out of 5