The presentation of dystopian futures in cinema isn’t a new thing. We have seen it in different forms in different films. The Hunger Games series, The Handmaid’s Tale, Wall-E, Children of Men, and so many more. Some films mentioned speak about the bleak reality of life not being possible for various reasons. However, in Vesper, the continuation of life is possible, but it would be a really bold decision for anyone to desire to procreate. This film brings to our minds an alarming future – one where humans are around, but means for sustainability are scarce. It’s almost as if one is fighting a losing battle. Well, everyone except the titular character.


Vesper (2022) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Per the words on the screen at the start, the story is of “The New Dark Ages” where the citadels rule in a monopolistic barter economy. This isn’t so bad on its own, but the setting of the film and the introductory scene drives home the harsh reality. The people have been left “nothing.”

The set designers present this picture quite well, or it could have even been the location scouts if filmed on location. Nevertheless, the bleak surroundings one would expect from the synopsis are visible courtesy of the barren wetland with weeds and muck; the forest also doesn’t seem to have food. Scavenging is a word that came to mind as I watched an unnamed unidentified figure hunt for something. This figure was important – a fact I realized right from the start as the dull-hued surroundings illuminated with every step she took. Potential signs of life with the tree of souls-esque glow? Based on what she collected, it was scarce; she stored them safely.


High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

In Vesper, food and energy supplies are scant to the point where human commodities are traded for seeds. Synthetic biology is a concept that the director duo of Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper explore in this rather slow-paced film. While I felt that it was unrushed, Vesper wasn’t boring and didn’t drag in any way. Vesper (Raffiella Chapman), an adolescent girl who has “skills”, is guided by her father, who has transferred his consciousness to a probe that drifts along with her. However, she must make her own choices, as her consciousness is ever evolving. 

Vesper (2022) Movie Review:

Raffiella Chapman as “Vesper” and Rosy McEwen as “Camellia” in Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper’s VESPER. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

As time passes, the writers peel the layers away and permit the audience to comprehend the motivations of Vesper and Camellia (Rosy McEwen). It makes their actions and situation seem relatable, or, if not relatable, cinephiles can understand the catalyst. These help the ones behind the fourth wall get an idea of why a child like Vesper must behave like an adult.


Chapman, the heart and soul of this film, did not seem out of place in either role. From the moment where this warrior agrees to trade her blood, to the scene where she howls like a wolf; the child star shows that despite being tasked with playing a child with maturity beyond her years, she retains elements of immaturity that serve as a release. How long can someone stay strong?

Vesper presents a tale of exploitation and the urge to do the right thing. It may have been the concept employed by The Citadel before capitalism took over, but the rebels had this thought.

In this sci-fi offering, one also realizes that even when everything is rosy to some, troubles exist. For it is only the ones who go through said troubles that know what it is exactly. The only thing that can be compared is the magnitude of such issues, but even then, there is always something in someone else’s life that seems fabulous. This film provides a take on the perceived ‘haves’ having everything, resulting in the ‘have-nots’ envying them; it turns this narrative around to show that control exhibited is everywhere, with freedom being a desire for all.


On the whole, Vesper presents a glimpse (a warning) into a damning, imminent, but seemingly avoidable future. One can look at it as a premonition and work to avoid it. Audiences with other schools of thought may glean something from the protagonist’s grit and resilience to battle through personal troubles.

Visuals and action tell the story with dialogues not dominating the offering. It is apt for a sci-fi dystopian offering and will appeal to such fans, but audiences expecting grandeur may remain disappointed. Some may remain upset at the sparse science stuff in this sci-fi. However, Vesper is as grounded as it can get with a slow yet steady and rewarding build-up in the one thing they decided to expand upon. Lack of focus in other aspects that got left midway helped enhance the film’s singular goal, with all other elements merely being devices to support the primary story. 

Vesper (2022) Movie Ending, Explained:

Raffiella Chapman as “Vesper” in Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper’s VESPER. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

The end of this film sees Camellia subdue Vesper and accept her fate. One Citadel member seemed to accompany her away. Once Vesper awoke at daybreak, she planted seeds in the manner her diagram showed her. Four more children joined her and they trekked past the alien-like structures. After over a day, they reached an outpost where black-clad figures stood and let them past. Vesper walked straight on and ascended the wooden structure that went way above the trees. With a crescendo of uplifting music, Chapman’s character makes it to the top, scans the surroundings, and lets the seeds fly.


It meant she was successful in her aim of finding hope in a place where all hope seemed to be lost. In the process, Vesper lost everyone she cared for. 

Vesper used her bio hacking abilities and cracked the code of the seeds

Vesper aimed to decode the seeds and used Camellia playing a particular note to do so. Once she realized what worked, the protagonist got the final key to her experiments. This could have been her ticket to freedom, but she wanted to serve the ‘have-nots’. Camellia opted to turn herself in, but Vesper’s father urged her not to. The protagonist also wasn’t in favor of this, as she implored her companion to be by her side as they attempted to flee the citadel’s pursuers.


Her bio-hacking came to good use as it aided the duo in fending off The Citadel’s people. The one piece of sci-fi action that fans were craving came at this part of the film.

The Citadel treated everyone as collateral

Vesper’s uncle went to the limit of attempting to kill his brother, his niece, and Camellia. Whilst he tried to end Vesper’s bedridden father, Camellia stepped in. He overpowered her but faced opposition from a dagger-wielding Vesper. The antagonist was too strong individually, but a collective effort saw a blade driven through his fist. He let slip the secret of what was happening to The Citadel, but they shot him upon arrival at the house.


Did Vesper’s father make it?

Vesper and Camellia were trapped by a fluid but evaded getting frozen by it. Once two individuals from The Citadel arrived, they went through the house and found a bedridden man. He engineered a blast to eliminate some pursuers, but the manner of the explosion resulted in his own demise. There was no evidence to suggest otherwise. Hence, Vesper’s father did not make it out of his house after the blast. 

All things considered, Vesper’s victory came at a cost. The ending implied that sacrifices are crucial for the greater goal. 

Read More: Athena (2022): Movie Review & Ending, Explained


Vesper (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Vesper (2022) Movie Cast – Raffiella Chapman, Eddie Marsan, Rosy McEwen, Richard Brake
Where to watch Vesper

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