Jupiter’s Moon

The Guardian - G2 - - Reviews Film -

Dir: Kornél Mun­druczó. With: Zsom­bor Jéger, Merab Ninidze, György Cser­halmi. 129mins. Cert: 15

Look – up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a satire on anti-refugee para­noia? Is it a re­li­giose para­ble of guilt and re­demp­tion? Is it a Euro-art­house su­per­hero ori­gin myth? Dif­fi­cult to tell. In fact, Kornél Mun­druczó’s Jupiter’s Moon is a mess­ily am­bi­tious movie with some great images. Like his pre­vi­ous pic­ture, White God, it skirts the fringes of sci-fi and fan­tasy. It is about a Syr­ian refugee, Aryan (Zsom­bor Jéger), who re­cov­ers from wounds in­flicted by a trig­ger-happy im­mi­gra­tion cop and re­alises he has a su­per­power: he can fly! The ac­tion kicks off in the con­ven­tional terms of a thriller. Aryan is try­ing to make his way to Hun­gary, along with his fa­ther and many other wretched souls. They are all caught, and find them­selves in a web of cyn­i­cism and cor­rup­tion. Stern (Merab Ninidze) is a Hun­gar­ian doc­tor who takes bribes from refugees to smug­gle them out of the camp to hospi­tal, where they can dis­ap­pear. Lás­zló (György Cser­halmi) is a bor­der cop not averse to tak­ing his own cut for mak­ing the pa­per­work van­ish. But then these men are con­fronted by the ter­ri­fy­ing phe­nom­e­non of Aryan fly­ing. So the ex­ploita­tive Stern takes his new pro­tege on a tour of rich pa­tients, demon­strat­ing his su­per­pow­ers, claim­ing an­gel-like gifts of heal­ing

– for huge cash fees.

The idea of fly­ing has poignancy as well as spec­ta­cle. Refugees are sub­ject to fences, bor­ders, walls; they may well fan­ta­sise about a mir­a­cle that al­lows them to float over to the promised land of the EU, and to par­take of the prosp- er­ity that al­lows the wealthy west to abol­ish the grav­ity that crushes them. There is also a bru­tal kind of satire at work in con­fer­ring su­per­pow­ers on refugees. Jupiter’s Moon is crammed with lots of other things – in­clud­ing a thriller-ish plot about ter­ror­ism in­volv­ing an un­der­ground sub­way chase, and a full-on shootout in a ho­tel. But there is some­thing mis­judged about a nar­ra­tive that sug­gests refugees nat­u­rally have ter­ror­ists among their num­ber. Jupiter’s Moon isn’t a to­tal suc­cess – but it aims at the stars.

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