Director Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game") has taken two appealing young A-list actors and used them perfectly. Working from a script by Jon Spaihts ("Doctor Strange") he puts them on board a brilliantly conceived spaceship embarked on a 120-year journey. Problem is, 90 years early, something malfunctions and people awaken in their sleep chambers, one AFTER another... Therein lies our tale...
Yes, things get busy. If you are familiar with Tyldum's work (see "Headhunters") you will brace yourself for some great action delivered in a comprehensible way. Luckily both actors are capable... and the production design is to die for! IN addition, the mindless efficiency of the robotic support staff is first of all amusing, then not....
- * Jennifer Lawrence ("Joy") Writer Aurora has the skills to document this adventure, but she also knows the life expectancy of a human.
- * Chris Pratt ("The Magnificent Seven") Jim has to cope with solitude until it becomes unbearable...then he has a moral and ethical quandary.
- * Michael Sheen ("Masters of Sex") Arthur is right where he should be, but isn't his bartender a bit literal?
- * Laurence Fishburne ("Black-ish") Gus makes it clear that he will figure out what happened... but then there is that moral dilemma... and that equipment malfunction...
We kept thinking, What would we do if we were sentenced to solitary confinement for the rest of our natural lives? Realizing that it is a death sentence, no matter how you experience it, made me think of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's "On Death and Dying: Five Stages of Grief in Death." Watching Jim trying to comprehend the magnitude of his solitude is thought provoking. And as we watch what Arthur does, in his literal interpretation of what has been said, makes his action understandable. Catastrophic, but understandable.
Because this is PG-13, expect no profanity, no gunshots, only implied sex and no vehicular mayhem. There are no slavering space monsters or aliens
and the acting is first rate, but expect an unexpected ending. All performed on sets that are mind-boggling and original. As I said, a production design to die for!