Jupiter’s Moon – Film Review by Cristina Florescu
Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Writers: Kornél Mundruczó (screenplay), Kata Wéber (screenplay)
Stars: Merab Ninidze, Zsombor Jéger, György Cserhalmi |
Jupiter’s Moon: A Confusing Mix of Thriller, Drama and Sci-Fi
Jupiter’s Moon is a Hungarian drama directed by Kornél Mundruczó, starring Merab Ninidze and Zsombor Jeger. It tells the story Aryan Dashni ( Zsombor Jeger), a Syrian refugee who gains unusual powers, and Gabor Stern ( Merab Nnidze), a Hungarian doctor of questionable ethics.
The film tackles the issue of Syrian refugees from a new angle and the title is connected to one of Jupiter’s moons: Europa, with a connection between Europa and Europe – the continent that promises safety and comfort for many Syrian refugees. However, this is the most interesting or logical part about the film. What follows is two hours of a confusing mix between thriller, drama and sci-fi in a film that tries to be all of the above, and fails to be any of them at all.
The film could be divided into three potentially successful short films: one about Syrian refugees, with Aryan Dashni at the forefront, a drama about a doctor and his career with Gabor Stern in the main role, and a somewhat mediocre thriller with all the material from the rest of the film. Instead, Jupiter’s Moon combines the three in a film that fails to be dramatic, gripping or even sci-fi. The story is disjointed, the characters aren’t developed enough to make you connect with them in any way, a million unknown elements are thrown into the mix without being explored at all. We have a Syrian refugee in search of his father, a doctor with questionable career choices, a country that in real life has come under fire for the way it handled the refugee crisis a few years ago. All these elements are great and could take the movie in an interesting, engaging direction as a drama. Even the action scenes could remain there and give it some sort of thrilling vibe. But instead the film is a half-baked effort that goes in a million nonsensical directions. The dramatic aspect falls flat due to the mediocre character development and acting, the action scenes are just an exasperating attempt at making this cinematic torture even longer, and the sci-fi element deserves its own commentary.
The sci-fi aspect is generally confusing. If Aryan’s powers are meant to make him a superhero, then the film feels more like the very long pilot of a TV show, rather than a feature film. If they’re connected to Jupiter’s moon, then that’s yet another unnecessary element of this film, as it is never fully explored. The sci-fi element in connection to the refugee crisis, is a whole other issue and, on a personal level, I thought it was a very poor move to take this angle in a Hungarian film, given the questionable stance Hungary took during the start of the refugee crisis, and given the seriousness of an issue that Europe continues to fail at resolving. It turns a film that could have had the potential to take a stance on the issue into a vulgar attempt at using the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century for entertainment purposes. And poor entertainment to make matters worse. It only adds fuel to a fire started by a pointless film that fails on all aspects of what makes a good film: an interesting story, good acting, and intelligent character development.