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As we’ve reported earlier this year, Andrew Niccol‘s next movie will be The Cross, starring Orlando Bloom, Olga Kurylenko, John Goodman and Vincent Cassel. The $24m ‘sci-fi escape story’ is in production now in Australia, and is said to return Niccol to the sort of serious science fiction approach that characterized Gattaca and his script for The Truman Show. Now we’ve got some concept art from designer Jean-Vinzent Puzos that shows a bit of what we can expect from the film.

The Quiet Earth has the art; I’ve reproduced only a couple shots, and you can see the rest by visiting their site. The script concerns a border, at least in the most obvious plot-oriented terms. The art we’re seeing now seems to mostly represent the border town to which Orlando Bloom and his character’s younger brother come in search of passage to a new life. The military influence is impossible not to notice; what is this border meant to keep out? Or why does it exist to pen individuals in? Whatever the reason for the border, it is built to be visually ominous and significant.

Niccol makes movies that are both thoughtful and exciting. Even if not all his work hits (um, S1mOne) he’s one of the few filmmakers who really pushes sci-fi as a legitimate storytelling form, not just as a shell full of explosions. If the military edge seen in these images heralds a film that mixes the concerns of Gattaca and Lord of War, wouldn’t that be something great? I don’t love either of those movies, but I’m always ready to see Niccol creating another interesting take on the genre. Far better to have even a middling effort from him than most of the crap that’s shoveled our way.

You can also read the official synopsis, though it may be more detailed than some would like:

Mylar (Bloom) and his younger brother Castro come to a town to cross the border in search of a better life. The two travelers, full of hope, all too quickly realize that their journey leads them to an inescapable world full of doom. The enigmatic border is strictly enforced under the command of a guard, Guideon [Cassel?], who prohibits anyone from ever leaving. Castro doesn’t make it alive past two weeks, but Mylar defies all odds and becomes the first to successfully cross the border. And he also becomes the first to come back… all for the love of a woman, Vera. [Kurylenko, one would expect.] Mylar must now devise a plan not only to set himself free, but all of his fellow citizens as well. But perhaps crossing the border is not the answer. Perhaps the key lies in altering the border and whatever it may represent…

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