Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
'The Jungle Book' brings Disney's Silver Age to an end - listen in our lastest episode of 'Ink & Paint' now!x
review, Sputnik, Sputnik, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Oksana Akinshina, Pyotr Fyodorov, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Anton Vasilyev, Pavel Ustinov, Vitaliya Kornienko, Natalya Shvets, Aleksey Demidov, Alexander Marushev, Albrecht Sander, Egor Abramenko, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller film rating

SPUTNIK

★★★

A FAMILIAR, LETHAL, MOVIE MONSTER

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
30th September 2020

Fans of horror curious about Russian-language contributions will find a USSR-sized gap in their research. Soviet horror films are rarely presented as an existing category - while countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and various European nations currently produce horror films by the dozen each year, you would only need one hand to count the number made in Russia over several. That alone might be a good enough reason to check out director Egor Abramenko's new film, 'Sputnik'.

In 1983, during the Cold War, a Russian cosmonaut, Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov), returns to Earth from space. Unfortunately, he brings an uninvited guest - an alien parasite that hides in his oesophagus and clambers out of its host's mouth while he's asleep. The government tasks a disgraced psychiatrist, Dr Tatyana Klimova (Oksana Akinshina), with travelling to the isolated military facility where Konstantin is being held in order to find out more about the extraterrestrial.

The stone-faced Colonel Semiradov (Fyodor Bondarchuk) wants her to determine how to separate Konstantin and the creature. Not only does he want his cosmonaut to survive because of the positive public relations it will provide the Russian space program, he also wants to weaponise the creature, which seems to have developed a symbiotic relationship with Konstantin that gives the man amazing recuperative powers. Psychological cat-and-mouse games aplenty ensue.

'SPUTNIK' TRAILER

With 'Sputnik', Ridley Scott's 'Alien' meets John Carpenter's 'The Thing' in a variation of other sci-fi tales. Dealing with familiar concepts, Abramenko pulls from proven sources with his story of a team of scientists who live in an isolated compound and face the feeding frenzy of a hitchhiker who spends time inside an astronaut's body. You could even think of 'Sputnik' as the middle part of an unofficial trilogy comprised of Daniel Espinosa's 'Life' (astronaut encounters alien life form in space) and Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' (alien life form ditches astronaut to pal around with Tom Hardy).

'Sputnik' offers a few interesting wrinkles to a fairly standard setup, with all of the characters struggling against different bureaucratic machinations. Klimova wants to save an innocent man, particularly once she finds out that his son is waiting for him in a government orphanage. Semiradov wants to get the situation with his cosmonaut under control before head office in Moscow catches wind of the situation. Another doctor, Yan Rigel (Anton Vasiliev), goes along with some grisly experiments, citing that the military order overrules his ethical objections. Even Konstantin is compliant with the savage actions of his parasitic passenger, but argues that he is ultimately has no choice. Abramenko captures the feel of the USSR's political climate, without veering into the sort of caricature and soap opera dramatics typical of usual Cold War-era portrayals. The film features intelligent dialogue, well-delivered by actors who show big screen charisma and skill.

You could even think of 'Sputnik' as the middle part of an unofficial trilogy comprised of Daniel Espinosa's 'Life' (astronaut encounters alien life form in space) and Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' (alien life form ditches astronaut to pal around with Tom Hardy).

However, there is still a feeling of untapped potential. During the 1980s, the Soviet bureaucracy lived as a parasite on the conquests of the working class, feeding off the latter until it destroyed them. Their parasitism, privilege and self-promotion were an enormous tax on the Soviet economy, infrastructure and social resources. I wish that Abramenko could have used his gooey beast to push the obvious metaphors even further.

The tension in 'Sputnik' ramps up very gradually and the film is never particularly scary, but when we eventually get to see the creature, it isn't disappointing. The computer-generated xenomorph is used sparingly in the early part of the film and to good effect when the action kicks in. While there is some gore, it mostly avoids slipping into a slimy, tacky pool of blood, initially drawing back rather than focusing on schlock film exploitation moments.

Abramenko's movie puts the characters in perilous situations where no answer seems like the right answer, leaving you wanting to know what happens next, and keeping the audience engaged. Although it doesn't reinvent the wheel, 'Sputnik' is an effective monster flick that touches upon human nature and the moral choices people have to make when it comes to life and death.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 01/10/2020
RUN TIME: 1h 53m
CAST: Oksana Akinshina
Pyotr Fyodorov
Fyodor Bondarchuk
Anton Vasilyev
Pavel Ustinov
Vitaliya Kornienko
Natalya Shvets
Aleksey Demidov
Alexander Marushev
Albrecht Sander
DIRECTOR: Egor Abramenko
WRITERS: Oleg Malovichko
Andrei Zolotarev
PRODUCERS: Fyodor Bondarchuk
Vyacheslav Murugov
Mikhail Vrubel
Dmitry Rudovsky
Murad Osmann
Ilya Stewart
Alexander Andryuschenko
Pavel Burya
SCORE: Oleg Karpachev
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
And the Academy Award goes to... - Pick this year's winners to take home your own prize!
TRENDINGWIN AND THE ACADEMY AWARD GOES TO...Pick this year's winners to take home your own prize!
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
TRENDINGNYMPHOMANIACLars, sex and cinema
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
Endings, Beginnings - Star-studded sex drama lacks substance
TRENDINGENDINGS, BEGINNINGSStar-studded sex drama lacks substance
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The Drummer and the Keeper - Fun and sensitive but a little too safe
TRENDINGTHE DRUMMER AND THE KEEPERFun and sensitive but a little too safe
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Complete Series - Sketches at a revolution
TRENDINGMONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS: THE COMPLETE SERIESSketches at a revolution
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
2067 - Muddled sci-fi with an ecological conscience
TRENDING2067Muddled sci-fi with an ecological conscience
The Pickup Game - A confronting reveal of the pickup industry
TRENDINGTHE PICKUP GAMEA confronting reveal of the pickup industry
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
The Dictator - Sacha Baron Cohen follows the script
TRENDINGTHE DICTATORSacha Baron Cohen follows the script
Gunda - Piglets, peace and producer Joaquin Phoenix
TRENDINGGUNDAPiglets, peace and producer Joaquin Phoenix
Summerland - Sweet and sentimental
TRENDINGSUMMERLANDSweet and sentimental
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!