Sputnik Review: Draws tropes from the old playbook yet comes out fresh.

Sajid Ali -

Sputnik Review: Draws tropes from the old playbook yet comes out fresh.
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Format: Feature (VOD)
VOD Platform: Prime, 
Movie Rated: 18+
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Language: Russian
Digital Premiere Date: 30 July 2020

What is the story about?
The story follows a young doctor who has been recruited by the military to assess a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and was returned to earth with a dangerous organism living inside them a day after their originally scheduled landing on the planet earth. The film is directed by Egor Abarmenko, written by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev.

Performances
Sputnik has a minimal central cast which was neatly packed with commendable performances. Oksana Akinshina as Tatyana Yuryevna Klimova did an amazing job, who reminds you of Amy Adams from Arrival. The traits were similar and Oksana did a great job adapting to the character. Fyodor Bondarchuk as Colonel Semiradov seemed apt for the character. Pyotr Fyodorov as Konstantin was wonderful. The cast kept it real and there was great chemistry between the characters which added more flavour to this sci-fi thriller.

Analysis
The movie is set in 1983. If you remember Netflix’s Stranger Things, which was also set in the same year where Demo-dragons appear. Both creatures look very similar in their appearances. The alien parasite symbiotes were experimented to use them as war weapons and Col.Semiradov does the same in Sputnik as well. Not only that the alien parasite lives inside of Konstantin just as in Will Byers in Stranger Things. These striking similarities are uncanny. 

Sputnik may have borrowed its tropes from Ridley Scott’s Alien, but it has its own original touch which makes the sci-fi very plausible as a fresh product. I could see the traces of LIFE (2017) which was not on the same lines but the treatment did. Despite being a sci-fi it had this horror element which keeps you on your toes wondering if that node will be a scare jump moment. It always catches you off guard and keeps a sane balance of the genre. The screenplay was smooth with no hindrance. The writers knew the pulse of the story and did a great job not letting it wander. It may not have the regular ending but leaves you wondering if it may have a sequel. 
Sputnik was supposed to debut at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2020. But due to COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t happen. The film was released as VOD in Russia on Aprile 23rd, 2020. And IFC Midnight acquired the American distribution rights and released it on August 14th, 2020.

Music and other Departments
Oleg Karpachev was spot on with his background score and did a wonderful job. The score is one of the vital elements in Sputnik which elevates your viewing experience. The cinematography was brilliant; Maxim Zhukov was intense with his craft and delivered a delectable experience. The editing was perfect by Aleksandr Puzyryov and Egor Tarasenko.

Highlights
The writing was smooth and the screenplay was brilliantly crafted which made Sputnik stand out as a fresh product despite being a repeated genre. So did the cinematography and sound which were exceptionally good.

Drawbacks
I can’t think of any, but if I’d have to say, it must be the pace which few may not favour. And the obvious, a repeated genre if you don’t mind watching it the nth time packed in Russian.
Did I enjoy it?
I absolutely enjoyed it. It’s been a while this genre offered a wholesome package. 
Do I recommend it and why?
I definitely recommend it. Pair it with a good headphone or a speaker set up to experience the full potential of the film.

 
Cast : Oksana Akinshina, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anton Vasiliev
Directors : Egor Abramenko
Producer/s : Mikhail Vrubel Aleksandr Andryushchenko Fyodor Bondarchuk Ilya Stewart Murad Osmann Pavel Burya Vyacheslav Murugov Alina Tyazhlova Michael Kitaev Ilya Jincharadze
Cinematographer (DoP) : Maxim Zhukov
Production House : odorod Pictures Art Pictures Studio Hype Film National Media Group Studio STS (TV channel)
Music : Oleg Karpachev

Movie Duration (minutes) : 113
Digital Premiere Date : August 14, 2020

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