Sputnik (MA) - 114 minutes
A creepy creature feature that starts off with two cosmonauts planning to return to Earth from a space mission in 1983, it quickly morphs into something else entirely.
Something goes wrong out there and the result of that becomes the subject of Sputnik.
Upon their descent into barren Kazakhstan, one of the intrepid travellers doesn’t make it and the other – the commander Konstantin Veshnyakov (Pyotr Fyodorov) – is barely alive and covered in blood.
Rehab doesn’t help and he is transferred to a top-secret facility, where he is interrogated daily and put under the care of the research director.
Mind you, try as the hardly sympathetic doctor does, he can’t get to the bottom of just what occurred in deep space.
Enter a brilliant but unconventional psychologist, Tatyana Klimova (Oksana Akinshina), who has just gone through an interrogation of her own for breaking the rules.
The head apparatchik of the clandestine facility, Colonel Semiradov (Fedor Bondarchuk), engages her to try to reach out to the hobbled space hero.
The result is eye-opening, to say the least.
In short, the cosmonaut has become a host for an alien and as long as this creature is literally within the commander both the commander and the parasite thrive.
But as the saying goes, “that ain’t the half of it”.
Let me summarise by indicating there is a lot going on here.
There are revelations and twists aplenty to this sci fi, which revels in the austere Cold War setting that is its backdrop.
Both the cosmonaut and the psychologist brought in to find answers are loners and they are drawn to one another.
The script by Oleg Malovichko and Andrey Zolotarev keeps us on our toes, even if it becomes more bizarre and farfetched the longer the film progresses.
I liked the sinister and scheming representations of all involved as this is a film about secrets and lies.
Its story arc is centred around power and control.
Leading the way is Akinshina as the newbie whose head is turned, while Bondarchuk revels as the master of manipulation.
Directed by Egor Abramenko, Sputnik piqued my interest and kept me engaged.
Rated MA, it scores a 7 out of 10.