Phase IV ★★★

A sci-fi thriller directed by Saul Bass?! How did I not know about this before?

As you would expect from Saul Bass, there are lots of cool visuals, including some abstract psychedelia and heavy Kubrick vibes. Also: a geodesic dome.

Oddly enough, there is no intro title sequence, only some retro-futuristic intertitles. And the end titles are about as basic as they can be. Perhaps Bass was trying to make a point that he was capable of making a movie without relying on the thing many people knew him for.

While all the macro ant photography is impressive, it gets to be tedious pretty quickly. You can only get so far when trying to tell a story by editing together footage of ants.

The human characters are also pretty shallow. An obsessive scientist, an attractive but helpless young woman, and the sympathetic protagonist all behave just how you might expect.

Ultimately the strengths of the movie are in the stylishly surreal imagery, and for that it’s still worth a watch.