In Hover, we get to explore a scenario where ecological collapse has endangered the global food supply, and secret advanced tech tools — AI powered drones — that help farm the depleted lands may be having adverse health effects on the people working the farms and surrounding community.
John (Craig muMs Grant) and Claudia (Cleopatra Coleman) work for Transitions, a company that humanely euthanizes people who are suffering from terminal illnesses, and their particular route is a large rural tract where many of the farmers have been disappearing or dying. It’s their job to help the dying “move on” using this technology, and not ask too many questions, about anything. But John has concerns, and his pursuit of them causes problems that the company doesn’t want, and they make sure John isn’t going to be able to follow the trail of evidence he’s collected.
Claudia has been having an affair with their boss, Jason, and this puts her in a conflicted position once she’s told that John has died. Jason assigns her to become the lead representative on their old route, and sends along a new trainee, Tania. Claudia has some questions about the thoroughness of Tania’s training, but initially lets some of those concerns go.
Eventually, Tania’s behavior causes Claudia to begin to question more than just what John was looking into, and what she uncovers challenges everything she believes about her company, her career and her relationship with Jason.
The echoes of powerful businessmen using their position to unduly influence younger women into providing favors, both professional and personal are threads throughout the film in the relationship between Claudia, her boss, Jason, and Claudia’s trainee Tania. Having a woman be exposed as enabling the gaslighting plants an element of grim reality in the betrayals, which resonates when she finally confronts the man she thought she loved and what’s he’s been doing to her all along. Claudia’s defiant “you don’t deserve to know” speaks volumes in the aftermath.
My biggest critique is how the story seems to slow down too much in some places. It’s a good chance to catch up and process all the data that’s come across, both visually and from the story, but it then seems to linger too long and not ramp back up soon enough. It feels as if it drags against the growing tensions, rather than complementing what the action and intrigue has built up. It doesn’t make the movie unwatchable, but I wonder how much stronger this movie could have been if some of those sequences were tighter.
The use of drone cameras as part of the composition of the look and feel of the film is a great use of the technology viewers are supposed to be a little suspicious of because of their role in plot. The CGI shots of what the drones themselves are viewing are also cleverly used, while not being overused.
The premise is compelling and well worth exploring, and focusing on the story on someone who’s already on the inside, slowly discovering the true meaning about the secrets around their work, is a solid foundation to work from, which means I will definitely check out the next project from Matt Osterman and his team.
Rating: 2.75 stars
In the near future, environmental strain causes food shortages around the world. Technology provides a narrow path forward, with agricultural drones maximizing the yield from what land remains. Two compassionate caregivers, Claudia and John, work to help sick farmland inhabitants end their lives. When John dies under mysterious circumstances, the locals help Claudia uncover a deadly connection between the health of her clients and the technology that they are using.
Cast: Cleopatra Coleman, Shane Coffey, Craig muMs Grant, Beth Grant, Fabianne Therese, Rhoda Griffis
Director: Matt Osterman
Screenplay: Cleopatra Coleman
The premise is compelling and worth exploring, and focusing on the story on someone who’s already on the inside slowly discovering the meaning about the secrets around their work, is a solid foundation to work from, which means I will definitely check out the next project from Matt Osterman and his team.