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.