And now for something completely different. Kornél Mundruczó’s last film, 2014’s ‘White God’, was a big mad thing about a mixed-breed mutt who sorts out a massive dog uprising, causing much canine chaos as his mates run riot through Budapest. Mundruczó’s new one is closer to home, but no less bananas.
It seizes you from the start. Somewhere on the edge of Hungary, a group of Syrian refugees, packed into a van, pile into a couple of boats and almost immediately get shot at by the authorities, a few escaping into the woods, where they are further hunted. We follow Aryan (Zsombor Jéger), who, to much distress, gets separated from his father and is then unscrupulously gunned down. Dead on the ground, he is somehow resurrected, and begins to levitate. This is the first few minutes. It’s heavy.
Many have compared ‘Jupiter’s Moon’ to Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Children Of Men’, for its subject matter as well as its camerawork, although it has just as much in common with M Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable: a superhero origin story grounded in reality, a man, here in much pain, getting to grips with his destiny. Jupiter’s Moon alas is considerably more convoluted than both of those films, dishing up politics and escapism at the same time, playing around with some cool ideas but not provoking much thought. The politics get lost, metaphors muddled.
That said, it is consistently thrilling. Mundruczó is a maniac, serving up a succession of soaring set-pieces. From a petrifying first-person car chase, to a truly bravado sequence in which Aryan literally turns someone’s world upside down – Fred Astaire’s ceiling dance taken to the nth degree – it’ll have your eyes permanently popping. It might not quite know what it’s doing, but it does it with style, an enormous does of wish fulfilment, and moments of true grace.