Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Talent: Zsombor Jéger, György Cserhalmi, Merab Ninidze
Released: 5 January
A young Syrian named Aryan Dashni is badly injured as he tries, alongside a hundred or so of his fellow refugees, to sneak into Hungary. As he lies semi-conscious on the ground, apparently dying from his wounds, he begins to float and tumble majestically in the air. Somehow healed by his ascent, he returns to earth, is found and brought to a refugee hospital. There a doctor, the shrewd operator Gabor Stern, witnesses the youth’s amazing ability and persuades him to assist the doctor in a money-making scheme, agreeing to help Aryan find his father in return. Meanwhile, the state are looking for Aryan, whom they believe may be tied to a terrorist cell.
This film is one that binarizes the audience, and for the most part, the number who don’t like the film seems to be greater than the number who do. I belong to the latter minority, inasmuch as I found Jupiter’s Moon a worthwhile and engaging attempt, not quite a success, definitely marred by flaws, but nevertheless provocative, visually exhilarating, and occasionally profound. While some have derisively presented the protagonist’s flying as the filmmaker’s cynical pursuit of the ‘superpower’ genre, this only reveals the limitation of the critics’ imaginations. In truth, what begins to develop in the mind of the doctor and ourselves, is the idea that Dashni is some kind of emissary, an angel of God. Thus, and insofar as the film deals with themes of forgiveness, guilt, sin, faith, and martyrdom, one would be better off comparing it to Wenders’ Wings of Desire than the Marvel franchise.
The visual aesthetic is fantastic. The opening alone is worth price of admission, speaking to the muscular and rhythmic styles of recent Nolan and Iñárritu. Admittedly dogged by plot weaknesses, Jupiter’s Moon is still a highly enjoyable film.