Cosmic Dawn Movie Review | RBC

Although Cosmic Dawn begins as a seemingly predictable sci-fi thriller, it lands with wondrous energy that radiates with gorgeous imagery.

In many sci-fi thrillers, the existence of aliens functions as a reliable plot device. Need an appropriate metaphor for living in fear of large-scale ideologies? Tune The invasion of the body thieves. Looking for a film centered on domestic tensions that only escalate when an unexpected visitor arrives? look color out of space. Occasionally, however, a movie like cosmic dawn comes and sincerely asks, if we learn that extraterrestrials exist, would this change the way we live on Earth? Written and directed by Jefferson Moneo, cosmic dawn brings the wonder back to sci-fi with lots of neon, upbeat techno, and intriguing mystery.


cosmic dawn centers its sci-fi mystery on Aurora (Camille Rowe), a young woman who believes she witnessed her mother’s alien abduction as a child. For most of her life, her aunt Caroline (Vickie Papavs) tried to convince Aurora that this event was all in her head – even committing her to a mental hospital when she was younger. After a run-in with the UFO cult of Elyse (Antonia Zegers), Aurora joins their commune. She thinks she is close to reuniting with her mother, although she doesn’t know how it will turn out.

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By far the best part of cosmic dawn it’s how committed the production is to visually constructing its world. Production designer Danielle Sahota creates an intricately nuanced setting for The Cosmic Dawn cult that sits between a cozy Doctor Who episode and a rave in the weird valley. The film’s unique tone is amplified by Alan Howarth (Halloween 3, Big problem in little China) musical score that injects equal amounts of tension and serotonin into the sci-fi thriller. Whether or not you believe in Aurora’s quest, it’ll be hard to look away from her twinkling neon beams or not follow the catchy beats from the film – with additional and equally mesmerizing techno-pop tracks from the Grammy-winning MGMT.


As for the mystery of the film, Moneo takes a storytelling risk by unraveling Aurora’s story from two timelines. We see a world-weary aurora four years in the future almost as much as we see an apathetic and hopeless aurora four years in the past. As the two story threads come together, audiences see how far the cult of The Cosmic Dawn will go to reunite with the aliens. While cosmic dawn ultimately lands on a definitive answer as to whether or not aliens exist in this world, the film carefully makes sure its outcome isn’t obvious. Probably, the audience will expect something else from Moneo and might be surprised by its refreshing ending.


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Although Camille Rowe’s Aurora easily captures a wide range of biting emotions, it’s Emmanuelle Chriqui (Superman and Lois) who steals the show as Natalie. Once Aurora meets Natalie, a devout follower of the Cosmic Dawn, she is also fascinated by Natalie’s devout devotion and air of mystery. Viewers will also easily find themselves following Natalie’s explanation of the cult’s lore and craving more screen time from her.

At the center of the film is a rather difficult question to answer: in what light is belief different from madness? Thankfully, the movie doesn’t try too hard to lean into the use of mental illness to define the divine cosmos. Some audiences, however, might find the film’s use of things like hallucinations and psychotic symptoms to be in poor taste. Alien interference and psychotic episodes are not the same thing; however, the film primarily connects them as a way to discuss the frustration of others who don’t believe your experiences and feelings. In this light, cosmic dawn succeeds in creating a world that truly believes that someone else in the universe is listening and explores how that fact could forever change our lives.


Step into the dazzling neon world of Cosmic Dawn, which debuts in theaters and on VOD February 11.

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