Pandorum [2009] • USA, Germany

I watched this movie because Ben Foster is a major talent. It's hard to recommend any of the movies he's been in but his performances have always been great. Most notable is his role in 3:10 to Yuma where he plays a cold-blooded killer like an effeminate Klaus Kinski on horseback. It's creepy and unnerving in its understatedness. He's one of those actors that scares you, like . Pandorum is another film I don't recommend except for Foster's performance. It's a bad movie but you can enjoy Foster improvising his way through it, trying to make something of the nonsense he's given to work with. He adds humor to the film by mocking his own dialog. He whispers a lot too, hoping no one will hear some of the lines he's tasked to deliver. So it is entertaining on that level. The rest of it is problematic.

The film starts with a couple guys aboard a gigantic spaceship waking from hypersleep with mild amnesia. One of them puts on a walkie-talkie headset and goes off in search of the reactor room. From that point on we're treated to dialog that consists of endless variations on the theme of "Can you hear me now?" And then the creatures show up. These creatures, reminiscent of those from The Descent (2005), can "run faster than you" and are "stronger than you know", but the humans outrun them throughout the movie, sort of like Mark Wahlberg outrunning the wind in The Happening, and they lose in some of their fights with humans. That's weird. The director uses silly camera tricks to cover up ridiculously written and choreographed scenes—and not very well. You often see characters just standing there on the sidelines, twiddling their thumbs waiting for their cue to start acting. There is, of course, a big holy shit twist at the end which segues peacefully to a happy ending, but who cares? Movie bad, Ben Foster good.


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