Refugee crises are central to a many films recently. I did my post-viewing research on Kornél Mundruczó Jupiter’s Moon. During that time, I discovered that this is my fourth Hungarian film about refugees. Or films that are either directly or indirectly about how such crises have affected the country during the past century. The fourth Hungarian film about that subject that came out in 2017, specifically. Those other films death with those crises through genres like action, romance, and western. This one is its own brand of different. Here, a doctor, Gabor Stern (Merab Ninidze), saves a young Syrian refugee, Aryan (Zsombor Jéger). The Hungarian government normally deports guys like him to the the Serbian border and beyond. Gabor has an ambiguously moral motivation for saving Aryan. And one of those reasons involve the latter’s ability to fly.
Jupiter’s Moon boasts one action sequence after another. But thankfully, there are scenes where both stop and talk to each other. To get to know each other to give the film some rest periods. There’s something customary for films like this about two friends from different racial backgrounds. Specifically, that the film would concentrate more on the white character, and for the most part it does. But at least Gabor asks Aryan about the latter’s life before leaving Syria. Aryan reveals than his father, who he lost during the trek from Syria to Hungary, is a carpenter. Pardon me talking about myself again. But hearing the word ‘carpenter’ made me worry that this is a Jesus metaphor film.
The metaphors here are the least of Jupiter’s Moon‘s flaws, Jesus or otherwise. This reminds me that the film begins with title cards theorizing that it gets its title from a theory. Specifically, that Europa is Jupiter’s most habitable moon. Which, if you put two and two together, eew. The biggest flaw here is also what others might see as its biggest assets – its action sequences. If there’s room to breathe and slow the pace in the whole film, the same goes for these action sequences. But even those middle moments give out a certain impression. It still feels like the film is working way too hard to impress its viewers. Mundruczó and Kata Wéber’s screenplay are the culptis for this.
The action sequences are understandable. Taking Aryan from deportation means that authority figures like Laszlo (György Cserhalmi) will follow and chase them. Nonetheless, Jupiter’s Moon’s try hard impression also comes whenever it shows Aryan character fly. Or at least, it conjures up other questions. Like why, as seamless as these effects are, is there no world building here? How does Aryan already know how to harness this seemingly new power? He becomes a flying expert after discovering the ability on him a few days beforehand. These missteps aren’t big enough for most viewers to be mad at. But they’re large enough to pull down an otherwise technically impressive film. The filmmakers behind it do show promise of telling compelling stories regardless of those future stories’ scopes.
Catch Jupiter’s Moon on OVID soon.