[Courtesy of Bleecker Street Media]

Movie Review: I.S.S.

07:00 January 23, 2024
By: David Vicari

I.S.S. is a psychological thriller that has a clever premise: astronauts and cosmonauts living on the International Space Station have to battle it out for control of the station after they see out of their window that a nuclear war has broken out down on Earth. So it is perplexing that this isn't a better movie than what we get.

Ariana DeBose (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for 2021's West Side Story) is Dr. Kira Foster, the newest American on board the space station. She is greeted by two more Americans (Chris Messina and John Gallagher Jr.) and three Russians (Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin, and Pilou Asbæk). Everything is chummy between them all until war breaks out on Earth. The Americans get a transmission from the United States to take control of the space station by any means necessary, and, of course, the Russians get the same instructions from their country.

There is some good tension early on, but the movie pretty much devolves into a slasher flick. There is a zero-gravity knife fight that is unintentionally hilarious because it feels forced in, like a studio executive said, "What this movie needs is a big action scene. How about a duel to the death in zero gravity?" The movie probably should have climaxed with a tension filled weightless scene, but instead we get three people in a kitchen area making sandwiches and seeing who can swipe the big ass butcher knife first.

I.S.S. is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, a talented filmmaker who made the shattering SeaWorld documentary Blackfish (2013), as well as the affecting drama Megan Leavey (2017). What went wrong with I.S.S.? Was Nick Shafir's screenplay lacking or was it budget constraints that killed the construction of more imaginative set-pieces?

Well the Earth isn't flat, but this movie unfortunately is.

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