Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Sputnik (2020)

The minute I saw the Soviet recovery capsule crash because it made it's landing on the ground and not in the water, I knew I was hip deep in some Russian astronaut bullshit. Hell, the movie in in Russian with subtitles. That's because it's a Russian production of a tried and true science fiction trope - the astronaut possessed by an alien creature.

This one involves a discredited neuropsychiatrist who is brought in to consult with the space agency on a unique case involving the single survivor of a two man space mission. The surviving cosmonaut doesn't remember what happen in the day he was out of contact with mission control. The psychiatrist is there to figure out what is happening. As you can see from the trailer it's not giving anything away to let you know that all these shenanigans are alien parasite based. The mystery comes from seeing if host and parasite can be removed from each other in time.

That is always a good place to start with a science fiction tale. Now, in America, this film would become and explosion and bullet laden feast for the senses. Sputnik goes in another direction and forgoes the fireworks for the eyes and concentrates on the brain (and some very creative puppetry). 

The version I watched was subtitled so I really had to pay attention. The result is a creep fest as only the Russians can do it. Call it Venom-lite. There is virtually no music and the settings are the gloomier than in Chernobyl and the whole film makes you feel uncomfortable. That is a very Russian trait but for audiences used to SOME action, this one can drag. Even a jump scare would be appreciated at this point.

And maybe someone could talk above a mild whisper? I could not hear most of what was said across the room if I was one of the actors. No way.

They way they describe how a creature, that is over a meter tall outside of the Cosmonaut's body. can fit so neatly into this stomach during the day is pretty scary and I know will stick with me.

Its a very talky slow burn that saves all it's action for the last thirty minutes. Is that worth a view? With me I watched the movie in two parts over two days because I found the first forty minutes to be extremely slow and didn't just want to abandon this film. I am glad I didn't. 

The fun really starts when the Scientist and the Cosmonaut go on the run and the military tries to contain the creature. 

First-time director Egor Abramenko presents a sci-fi horror thriller set during the Cold War era about Russian cosmonaut Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) who returns to earth after surviving a space accident. However, his military superiors find that an alien being is lodged inside of his body. They tap Tatiana (Oksana Akinshina), a controversial young doctor who is recruited to assess Konstantin’s condition. As the alien creature manifests itself, Tatiana and the Russian military develop conflicting approaches regarding the situation.

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