Watch Oscar Isaac's disturbing transformation in sci-fi short Lightningface

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Lucas Siegel
Aug 11, 2017

Most modern superhero films, especially origin stories, don't get too deeply into the psychology of the day after that big origin moment. In Brian Petsos' short film Lightningface, we see "an origin story, of sorts," as he describes it, with Oscar Isaac portraying a character named Basil Stitt. Basil gets struck by a lightning bolt -- in his face, obviously -- that comes from a strange storm cloud that appears in the middle of the city skyline.

What happens next is a disturbing and trippy transformation, something Oscar Isaac is used to in film, as Basil experiences a week that dives into themes like the five stages of grief, and how we deal with trauma. It's ambiguous, from beginning to end, how much of this really happens, and how much is in Basil's head. It could be seen as entirely in his mind, or entirely real. Even the ending is debatable, whether it's the beginning of something or (more likely) the end of it all for Basil.

Check out the fascinating short film, an official selection of 25 film festivals in the last year, but be prepared for a different side of Oscar Isaac, far outside his other genre work, like Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

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