Sputnik (2020) – Review

Upon his return from a daring and hazardous mission into space, Konstantin Veshnyakov (Pyotr Fyodorov) becomes subject of integration by his own people, after they discover the fact that an unknown creature has returned inside his body. When the renowned psychologist Tatyana Klimova (Oksana Atinshina) enters the fray, things become more complex and the truth begins to unravel. Based at the height of the Cold War, this soviet based science fiction flick explores many genres, including drama and horror.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Director: Egor Abramenko
Writers: Oleg Malovichko, Andrei Zolotarev
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Pyotr Fyodorov, Fedor Bondarchuk

It’s fair to say that it doesn’t take too much to get me excited for any new release that revolves around the subject of space travel and any form of potential alien invasion, so having seen the trailer for the Russian production, Sputnik, a fair few months ago, it instantly went down as one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. The alien invasion theme is one that’s been explored with mainly mixed reviews over the last few years, so having been released on Amazon Prime, I finally had the opportunity to give it a fair and honest shot this past weekend.

One thing worth picking up on was the way in which the film was produced and shot in general. The atmosphere was built tremendously in a large majority of the scenes and something that contributed massively to this was the soundtrack. On its own, it was designed to strike fear into the viewer and fill them with dread throughout – something that was accomplished with ease. At times it was dark and sinister, largely leaving you with the sensation that something terrible was capable of happening at any given moment – especially in the opening act.

Not only was the soundtrack capable of filling you with a sense of fear, but some of the scenes were capable of that too. The filmmakers weren’t afraid of showcasing one or two extreme moments of gore, ones that make you want to look away in anguish but at the same time keeping looking through intrigue. The imposing alien itself was even something extremely intimidating and fearsome too.

With that being said, there were definitely one or two issues with the film – one being the decision making of certain naive and rather unbelievable characters and another being the rather unnecessary subplots that veered away from the initially attractive premise of the flick. I feel like the movie would have been better received if it had remained focused on one or two of the genres it was categorised under, rather than trying to branch off and cover other areas, most notably those of a family or romance drama.

In terms of the acting, it seemed typically and traditionally Russian, as expected. On occasion it was stern and blunt but at the same time, it was impressive on a whole. The lead character of Tatyana Klimova was portrayed by Oksana Akinshina, while support came from Pyotr Fyodorov and Fedor Bondarchuk who adopted the roles of Konstantin Veshnyakov and Semiradov, respectively.

All in all, I’m not afraid to say that I thought Putnik started off like a house on fire, with the suspense and tension being heavily focused on, but for all of the promise it brought to the table, it petered out into more of a drama based movie that ultimately focused on one woman’s mission of trying to do what was morally correct. Not quite the story or picture that I was expecting, and it’s fair to say that there’s definitely better alien vs human stories out there.

“Heroes don’t abandon their children…”

Tatyana Klimova – Sputnik

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