(On Cable TV, March 2019) I’m not a sympathetic viewer for undigested ufology, but UFO’s main strength lies somewhere else, somewhere I’m more than willing to follow: A scientific procedural thriller, in which an incredibly bright mathematics university student pulls at the thinnest threads in order to figure out a scientific mystery. Writer-director Ryan Eslinger turns in quite a cerebral film, with no action and arguably no antagonist either. But it’s a clever suspense movie in which the question is whether the protagonist will figure out the mystery, with equations and conceptual breakthroughs being what he needs to get there. Alex Sharp turns in a Miles-Tellerish lead performance (that’s a compliment) as the obsessed student, with some assistance by Gillian Anderson and David Strathairn. The low budget of the film is used effectively by a script that knows that its strength lies elsewhere than big-budget spectacle filmmaking. I quite enjoyed it despite my misgivings about presenting this as a true-ish story—it’s best to ignore the weak woo-woo attempts to link it to “real” events and enjoy it as a purely fictional thriller. In that light, it reminded me not only of my own computer science university days, but of the pleasure I got then from reading hard-SF short stories tackling first contact from a mathematical-as-universal-language perspective. I really can’t claim that I completely followed all of UFO’s heady concepts, but I knew enough to follow along and to appreciate that the film doesn’t treat its audience as idiots. There’s some noticeable but clever foreshadowing throughout, and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the more ambitious but also more pretentious wave of low-budget Science Fiction that we’ve seen lately. Hard-SF readers should get quite a kick out of it.