Friday, January 8, 2021

Movie Review: Sci-fi thriller ‘Sputnik’ takes a dark turn

By Daniel Gray

Released August of last year, Sputnik is a Russian sci-fi thriller that takes place in 1983. We follow astronaut Konstantin Veshnyakov (Pyotr Fyodorov), who has a parasite living inside him from space and it is up to Tatyana Kilimova (Okasana Akinshina), a doctor with a nearly revoked license, to separate them.


At the beginning of the film, we have Konstantin and his colleague disengaging from ORBITA-4 and starting to make their way back to Earth. Before they can safely reach the Earth's atmosphere, something rattles their ship and causes the men to panic. Only Konstantin survives the journey and suffers for it.


We then meet a neurophysiologist named Tatyana who is being charged for unorthodox methods of helping a teenager who suffers from seizures. Soon after the trial, she meets a man named Semiradov who needs her help with Konstantin, believing that she can help assist them. Tatyana accepts and the two travel to a secured and secluded base that holds Konstantin and his alien parasite.


At first, Tatyana diagnoses Konstantin with simple PTSD due to his lack of memory of what happened up in space. As she learns more and more about Konstantin and his case, she is terrified of the monster that lives inside of him and keeps him alive. Tatyana is determined to help Konstantin be freed of this creature, so she continues forward to help him.


Things take a dark turn when Tatyana learns more about the parasite inside of Konstantin. She had been told it feeds on whatever Konstantin eats, but instead they have been feeding it prisoners from a nearby facility. Disgusted, Tatyana confronts Semiradov that it is morally wrong, but turns out they are keeping Konstantin there to have him as a future weapon and that he doesn't care who dies in the process.


Tatyana hatches a plan to help free Konstantine from the parasite, along with the facility he's held in. Upon escaping, they are soon ambushed by Semiradov and the military. Tatayana and Konstantine flee the fight that ensues with the parasite being left behind to kill off the armed forces, but it is soon outnumbered and nearly killed.


With the parasite being in a hurt state, Semiradov is able to catch up to the two and attempts to force the ill Konstantine to allow it back inside of himself. Instead, Konstantine controls the parasite to kill Semiradov. Afterwards, Konstantine shoots himself to finally kill the alien inside of him, dying in the process.


Sputnik wasn't too much of a scary movie, but it did keep me in suspense the whole way through. The fact that the whole thing is in Russian doesn't have a barrier either, the translations easily helping English viewers along to understand the story and dialog.


The ending seemed rushed however and made me wonder if Konstantine could have lived life normally with the parasite instead of shooting himself. But overall, a good final watch of 2020 and it’s available on Amazon and Hulu. <

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