About the movie I.S.S.


Genre: Science fiction thriller Director: Gabriela Cavpertvayt

Starring: Ariana Debos, Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr., Masha Mashkova, Kosta Ronin, Pilou Asbæk

Premiere: digital services (Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+)

Release year: 2023

IMDb: 5.3

Two American astronauts arrive at the International Space Station – engineer Christian Campbell and scientist Kira Foster, for whom this is her first flight. They join a team of four colleagues already working on site – compatriot Gordon Barrett and three Russians – one woman and two brothers. This “apolitical” space mission started out as routine work that would proceed in a pleasant atmosphere of camaraderie and understanding, despite linguistic, mental, cultural, or any other barriers.

But soon the teams witness a series of powerful flashes resembling nuclear explosions on the beautiful blue planet. The arrival of an American notification from Earth, announcing that war has broken out between Russia and the United States, and that the ISS is an important target that must be brought under control at any cost, exacerbates the situation. As the fiery maelstrom grows on the planet’s surface like a cancerous tumor, the atmosphere on the station also becomes tense, with both teams receiving identical orders.


“International Space Station”

The director of the “International Space Station,” Gabriela Cavpertvayt, mostly specializes in documentary filmmaking and has also directed a critically acclaimed biographical film about the American soldier Megan Levy. Her new science fiction thriller transmits a quite obvious pacifist message, but the creators clearly lag behind with their essentially futile phrases about the absurdity of bloodshed. Fairy tale plots like this will certainly have no impact on the relentless aggressor that has been destroying Ukraine for almost 2 years now.

In the context of today, it is impossible to simply watch Russian characters and react to them in the way the authors intended. There cannot be even the slightest desire to see anything good in them when, literally the day before writing this text, the occupiers once again shelled Kharkiv and killed innocent children.

The episode where the newcomer to the ISS, Kira Foster, who can be conditionally called the main heroine, cannot comprehend the actions of her supposedly friends with whom she drank alcohol the day before. “Are they really the kind of people who could kill Gordon?” the girl asks. But now it is rhetorical and irrelevant, as the entire civilized world long ago knew the answer to it.

“International Space Station”

Overall, the film has enough scenes that can disturb Ukrainian viewers. The opening credits mention something about space collaboration between Russia and the USA after the Cold War, at a time when the world is already experiencing a new stage of geopolitical crisis, and here we again recall that the film came out somehow untimely.

Scenes where Russians and Americans enthusiastically embrace under the symbolic “Wind Of Change” and utter phrases like “It’s important that we stick together” are hard to digest. Of course, it couldn’t do without singing the Soviet song “And we don’t dream of the roar of the cosmodrome,” which is quite eloquent as well.

The icing on the cake is the image of the native of Zhytomyr, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, which hangs right above the Russian tricolor. And despite the ongoing disputes about the nationality of the “father of astronautics,” even at the level of official accounts of Ukraine and Russia on the former Twitter (where Musk, as always, inserted his useless two cents), it is now well known where the brilliant scientist suffered torture and how the Soviet authorities of the Stalinist era treated him.

“International Space Station”

However, if you watch the film with an emotionless cold look beyond the current political context, it doesn’t fare well either. First of all, the film fails as a claustrophobic space thriller, the electrified atmosphere of which should keep viewers in complete tension, constantly escalating. This practically does not happen: the mundane space battles evoke sheer boredom, at best a fair indifference.

In terms of the cast, one can notice Masha Mashkova, a Russian actress – the daughter of the staunch Putinist Vladimir Mashkov. However, the actress moved to the United States, where she obtained citizenship and is now building her career there. She publicly spoke out against the full-scale Russian invasion and condemned her father’s position. Before appearing in “International Space Station,” Mashkova managed to appear in another project on space themes – in the fourth season of “For All Mankind” from Apple TV+.

“International Space Station”

Regarding the performances of other roles, there is nothing much to say except that Pilou Asbæk’s broken Russian is somewhere at the level of “what are your proofs” or even “I will receive victory for myself” from the steroid-pumped Ivan Drago.

In conclusion, there are very few reasons for viewers to start watching “ISS.” The film has many unpleasant moments and narratives, which, let’s be frank, look the most fantastic. Russian characters are controversial and suffer because they have to commit a crime. Poor things.

There is no gripping hermetic thriller here either, which is impossible to look away from. You’re left only to observe the beautifully depicted burning Earth from space, which has undoubtedly become a victim of the actions of one country that has become annoying to everyone. It’s not hard to guess which one.


The days are gone when the Cold War was in the past and Michael Bay jokingly depicted the caricatured Russian cosmonaut Lev Andropov in his “Armageddon.” The creators of “International Space Station” are far from frivolous caricatures and are trying to take a serious approach to the theme of contemporary world geopolitics, which is quite feverish.

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