I.S.S. Review: High Stakes and Higher Tensions in Orbit!


“I.S.S.” opens with an eerie sense of foreboding, reminiscent of classics like “Alien,” as we’re introduced to the International Space Station’s newest member, Kira (Ariana DeBose), and the tight-knit crew already aboard. The film swiftly establishes its unique environment, blending the disorienting beauty of weightlessness with the mundane realities of space life. Kira, joining as a biologist, brings with her not just scientific curiosity but also lab mice, setting the stage for a subtle yet profound exploration of vulnerability in an unforgiving environment.

The early scenes masterfully build a sense of camaraderie among the crew, showcasing their dependence on each other for survival in this isolated outpost. This is especially evident in the dynamics between Kira and the other astronauts, including Weronika, the only other woman aboard. However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Tensions simmer beneath the surface, particularly with fellow scientist Alexy, hinting at the complexities of workplace relationships in such extreme conditions.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and writer Nick Shafir deftly weave these interpersonal dynamics into the larger narrative, hinting at a looming crisis with subtle cues like the life support system’s low hum – a constant reminder of their precarious situation. The film then pivots dramatically with a shocking revelation: Earth is in turmoil, visible from space. This external crisis rapidly transforms the space station into a powder keg of tension and mistrust, with crew members receiving cryptic and conflicting orders from their respective governments.

What makes “I.S.S.” particularly gripping is its focus on the psychological over the mechanical; the real tension lies not in the failing technology but in the rapidly deteriorating trust among the crew. The film explores how quickly alliances can shift in the face of survival, set against the backdrop of a space station that itself might not last without support from Earth. This tension is further amplified by a romantic subplot that crosses national lines, adding a personal stake to the escalating conflict.

Despite its ambitious themes, “I.S.S.” is not without its flaws. The film sometimes struggles to balance its thriller and horror elements, leading to a somewhat uneven tone. Moreover, while the story moves briskly, it occasionally glosses over deeper character development, leaving some interpersonal dynamics feeling a bit superficial.

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Still, “I.S.S.” is a tense, engaging thriller that succeeds more in its psychological exploration than in technological spectacle. It’s a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, not just for the suspense but for the moral quandaries it presents. While it may not delve as deeply into character as some might hope, its portrayal of crisis and human nature in an extreme environment is compelling.

RATING: 3.0 out of 5.0

I.S.S. is now playing in theaters.

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1 Response

  1. Quaerat says:

    I really liked this but know it may be slow for some people with not a lot of patience

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