Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SPUTNIK

SPUTNIK is one of the best films of 2020 so far, and statistics say that about 95% of Americans won’t give it a try at all. Why? Because it is a Russian made film with subtitles. But I implore you, just like 2019’s Oscar Best Picture Winner Parasite, look past the subtitles and different language and just try to enjoy yourselves. Like with most subtitle films, I forget I am even reading them only 10 to 15 minutes into the movie, especially if the movie is fantastically entertaining. If you actually do give this a chance, you might be scratching your head at the beginning and would want to say to me, “Zach, have you gone nuts, this is basically an Alien like clone and/or a spiritual sequel to it or Life.” Keep watching, it isn’t and it becomes its own thing. It also has several backstories to characters that have tremendous emotional payoffs in the last 5-10 minutes of the movie. This is one of those sci-fi films that actually cares about its characters and aren’t just fodder for some kind of extra terrestrial entity to kill and up the movies’ body count. Combined with an incredible score, probably the best I’ve heard all year so far as well, a solid story, several well execute and earned scares, great gory CGI, and a fantastic central performance from lead actress Oksana Akinshina, Sputnik is a must see. If you don’t want to because of actually having to read, I hope your subtitle guilt eats you up inside (pun intended, you’ll see) as you are really missing out.

Per IMDB, Sputnik is described as follows: “The lone survivor of an enigmatic spaceship incident hasn’t returned back home alone-hiding inside his body is a dangerous creature.” After watching the movie, I was wondering why the movie was titled that as Sputnik it was the name of the first artificial satellite put in orbit around the earth. However, doing some more research I found out that it is also the Russian word for ‘companion’ or ‘fellow traveler’, alluding to the companion the commander brings along. Brilliant. And no, the alien doesn’t just burst out of the guys chest like alien, it is a bit more complicated than that. I want to explain the brilliance of why it inhabits this astronauts body, but that would ruin some of the fun, suffice to say, the film quickly becomes it’s own thing and your fears should be quickly eradicated that it is a direct rip off of Alien. This is going to be a pretty short review because I don’t know any of the writers, directors, or main players, but suffice to say the film is written very well, shot very well, the CGI is used sparingly and looks realistic, and actress Oksana Akinshina gives a fantastic performance, and thankfully wasn’t just a Ellen Ripley rip off, she’s her own strong female force. I appreciate the little things. I also appreciated that while the motivations of the ‘villains’ could be looked at as ‘cookie cutter’ in some places, in other places they weren’t and were actually kind of unique. You’ll see if you watch and actually pay attention. While the recently watched Archive was smart sci-fi up until the last 5 minutes of the movie, Sputnik is smart sci-fi for the entire hour and 53 minutes, never a dull moment, no tricks or facades, it knows its audience can think for once. Please comrades, I’d like some more.

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