Saturday 9 March 2024

REVIEW: Spaceman (2024 Film) - Starring Adam Sandler

By Jon Donnis
Usually I will watch a film and then write the review soon after, but with Spaceman, I just felt like I needed to let it sit in my brain for a few days, as it did affect me in a way I never expected, especially not from an Adam Sandler film.

Directed by Johan Renck and written by Colby Day, Spaceman is a mesmerizing blend of retro-futuristic aesthetics (set in alternative 1990s) and profound psychological drama set against the backdrop of space exploration. The film follows Czech astronaut Jakub Procházka, portrayed with surprisingly raw emotional depth by Adam Sandler (this is not your usual Adam Sandler film), on a daring mission to investigate the Chopra cloud beyond Jupiter. As Jakub grapples with the isolation of space and his strained relationship with his wife Lenka, played with poignant sincerity by Carey Mulligan, he encounters a telepathic extraterrestrial creature named Hanuš, voiced hauntingly by Paul Dano, basically a 3 foot long tarantula like spider.

One of the film's standout features has to be Sandler's transformative performance as Jakub Procházka. Shedding his comedic persona, Sandler delivers a riveting portrayal of a man haunted by his past, wrestling with loneliness, guilt, and the weight of his choices. It is hard not to be drawn into Jakub's inner turmoil with compelling authenticity. I think there is only one moment in the film where Sandler shouts and for a moment you are reminded of his usual performances.

The narrative unfolds in a non-linear fashion, weaving together Jakub's present struggles in space with fragments of his past, revealing the layers of trauma and regret that define him. The incorporation of Hanuš, the enigmatic spider-like creature, adds an intriguing element of mystique and existential contemplation. Through Jakub's interactions with Hanuš, the film delves into themes of connection, empathy, and the search for meaning in an indifferent universe.

Renck's direction imbues the film with a dreamlike atmosphere, enhanced by stunning visual effects that evoke both the wonder and the isolation of space. The retro-futuristic aesthetic of the 1990s setting lends a unique flavor to the film, blending nostalgia with speculative futurism in a visually arresting tableau.

At its core, Spaceman is a thought-provoking exploration of human frailty and resilience in the face of existential challenges. The film's ambiguous ending invites interpretation, sparking discussions long after the credits roll. While some viewers may find the narrative ambiguity frustrating, others will appreciate the opportunity for introspection and debate. Was it all a dream, was Jakub hallucinating, was it real, that is up to each individual person watching to decide.

In conclusion, Spaceman is a bold and immersive experience that defies genre conventions. With its powerhouse performances, evocative visuals, and thematic richness, it stands as one of the most compelling films of the year. While it may not be to everyone's taste, those willing to embrace its unconventional narrative will find themselves rewarded with a deeply resonant journey into the depths of space and the human soul.

Personally I loved Spaceman, I loved Sandler's performance, and although Hanuš might not be your usual buddy type character, it strangely works well here. I score Spaceman a very strong 9 out of 10. I will still be thinking about this film in weeks to come. And that is high praise.

Did you know that this film is based on Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař, which is available at