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  Jupiter's Moon Fly Too HighBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Stars: Merabe Ninidze, Zsombor Jéger, György Cserhalmi, Mónika Balsai, Ákos Birkás, András Bálint, Péter Haumann, Judit Meszléry, Enikö Mihalik, Kornél Mundruczó, Máté Mészáros, Imola Rácz, Sándor Terhes, Can Togay, Lajos Valázsik, David Yengibarian
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Aryan Dashni (Merabe Ninidze) is a refugee from the Middle East who has reached Eastern Europe in his quest for a new home, accompanied by his father who takes him aboard a boat, one of a number crossing a river to evade the authorities tonight. Suddenly, as they are halfway to the shore, shots ring out and they are under attack, capsizing the vessels and plunging Aryan into the water; under the upturned boat he was in he sees his father, who tells him to follow him to the bank, but in the confusion they are separated and the young man is fleeing through the forest whereupon he encounters Laszlo (György Cserhalmi), who shoots him in the chest. Then Aryan floats into the air...

He did not intend to, and we are never offered much of an explanation for his new talent, but despite his apparently fatal wounds he is born again, and here we begin to work out if there's a religious allegory here. That would be curious indeed, since the Christian themes would seemingly jar with the Muslim protagonist, but Jupiter's Moon was a hard film to pin down all the way through. To all intents and purposes, this was Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó's take on that very Hollywood genre, the superhero movie, so he had an underdog character who gains incredible powers and uses them for good, despite being pursued by the villainous Laszlo who wants to off him.

What to do? How about join up with the doctor who examined him, Stern (Zsombor Jéger, clearly dubbed by a different actor, oddly), who has the savvy to survive in this perilous world, yet also has his own agenda when he recognises an opportunity to make an awful lot of money as Aryan has additional powers, not merely over gravity, but to heal the sick and dying as well. Therefore this kind of shady medical man is prepared to use his professional knowledge to seek out the needy, and importantly those who have the cash to spare on what is basically a magical operation because Aryan needs recompense and Stern is his handler, if you will, so before long they are making a small fortune out of Hungary's ailing and wealthy.

The trouble is, Laszlo is still closing in, as he is the head of the immigration department which is struggling to cope with this huge influx of new people. If that meant you were bracing yourself for a load of heavy political crisis drama, then that was not what was on offer, as Mundruczó was more keen on exploring other avenues, including showing off his aptitude with action sequences and his way of rendering the visual effects almost invisible: there were shots in this so accomplished that they put many a megabudget blockbuster to shame. That said, it was obvious he did not have a bottomless pit of funds, and they were implemented sparingly, but when they did appear they were as good as anything you would have seen in a Marvel effort, if anything they looked a lot more authentic.

That was ironic given much of Jupiter's Moon was contrasting the outlandish with the drudgery of the existence in Eastern Europe it portrayed; Stern wants money because his job, which you would think would pay fairly well, isn't supporting him and his girlfriend (Mónika Balsai), also a doctor, is not happy either, to the extent that she may inadvertently put his life in danger when it seems he prefers the company of Aryan over her. The relationship stuff was overshadowed by the fantastical material, and also such scenes as the one-take car chase where only one of the vehicles involved was seen, a truly superb item of direction that had you pondering whether the man at the helm was secretly crafting a calling card to get him into bigger productions. The social conscience may have been there, but it was secondary to a science fiction thriller plot, so you could read whatever you wanted into the background, but the foreground increasingly gave over to suspense, thrills and spectacle. It was an achievement, but a little flimsier than initially apparent. Music by Jed Kurzel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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