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I.S.S. (15)

Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbaek, John Gallagher Jr
Genre: SciFi
Author(s): Nick Shafir
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Release Date: 26/04/2024
Running Time: 96mins
Country: US
Year: 2024

Nasa astronauts Kira Foster and Christian Campbell travel to the ISS on a Soyuz rocket to join American compatriot Commander Gordon Barrett and three Russian cosmonauts, Weronika Vetrov, Nicholai Pulov and his brother Alexey. Staring up at Earth from the ISS's cupola, Kira observes a series of explosions across America and Gordon receives information from Houston of military conflict with the Russians. Nasa orders the Americans to seize control of the facility "by any means necessary".


LondonNet Film Review

I.S.S (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Launched in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS) is an enduring symbol of cooperation between major space agencies and signalled an end to the Space Race between Cold War-era America and Russia which dominated the second half of the 20th century. The orbiting structure provides a claustrophobic setting for director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s survival thriller, which rekindles old rivalries above the third rock from the sun following the outbreak of nuclear war. “It does not end well,” remark Pilou Asbaek’s Russian biological engineer, referring to the likely outcome of scientific trials with mice in microgravity…

His conclusion applies equally to I.S.S., a predictable study of paranoia and wilful deception that crudely engineers conflict between characters to ensure a few dead bodies safely contained in the station’s hold. Oscar winner Ariana DeBose plays a soothing voice of reason, who foreshadows her response to conflict when her first-timer in space discusses a recent break-up from an unfaithful girlfriend. “Trust isn’t my strong suit,” she warns. Characters most likely to crack under pressure are telegraphed, making it easy to guess which cast are destined to be lost in the space of Nick Shafir’s script.

Nasa astronauts Kira Foster (DeBose) and Christian Campbell (John Gallagher Jr) travel to the ISS on a Soyuz rocket to join American compatriot Commander Gordon Barrett (Chris Messina) and three Russian cosmonauts, Weronika Vetrov (Masha Mashkova), Nicholai Pulov (Costa Ronin) and his brother Alexey (Asbaek). Kira quickly acclimatises to her new surroundings and stumbles through a few words of Russian. “The important thing is we stick together,” smiles Weronika.

Staring up at Earth from the ISS’s cupola, Kira observes a series of explosions across America and Gordon receives information from Houston of military conflict with the Russians. The ISS has been deemed a priority foothold and Nasa orders the Americans to seize control of the facility “by any means necessary”. Russian cosmonauts receive similar orders before communications are severed and the two sides visibly separate. Tension builds when the astronauts remember the ISS is in a dangerously low orbit to receive supplies from Earth and without support from ground control, the station will crash back down to terra firma.

I.S.S. is a formulaic and mildly suspenseful thriller, which spacewalks alongside the likes of Gravity and Alien with a strong female protagonist problem-solving to stay alive. DeBose isn’t emotionally stretched in that pivotal role, predominantly reacting to signposts in Shafir’s script which are planted during a welcome tour of the station in the opening 15 minutes. Special effects are solid and a brisk flight time just over 90 minutes prevents idle minds from fixating too long on fatal plot holes in spacesuits.

– Jo Planter


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