SPACEMAN

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SPACEMAN
SPACEMAN

Sandler in a state of emotional impotence versus ethereal Mulligan, devoid of vital energy.

Spaceman portrays all of our relationship fears (and insecurities) in a uniquely stimulating way. Jakub Procházka (Adam Sandler) emphasizes in the introduction to the film Spaceman : “I am not the loneliest man in the whole world.” A tactful close-up of his facial expression tells us that he doesn’t quite believe these words: after all, he’s sitting all alone on the spaceship. Despite everything, somewhere deep in his soul he is perfectly aware that… in the end he is right.

Even though he is literally alone on the ship, looks like the opposite of himself, and is currently on a several-month journey (one way?) into a mysterious anomaly in space, Jakub is by no means wrong. The loneliest person in the world, and maybe even the entire universe, is pregnant Lenka (Carey Mulligan), Jakub’s wife. As it turns out, Procházka has once again left her alone on Earth and, out of frustration with being constantly pushed into the background, she decides to escape from her previous life. Jakub is, above all, an idealist: he assumes that serving the state is more important from the very beginning than anything related to Earth. So she doesn’t show up for their next video call, doesn’t answer the phone, and consciously disappears, as if evaporating, becoming a ghost in a material form. Will Jakub be able to understand his partial selfishness before it is too late for their relationship? Or maybe there has been no help for her for a long time?

While watching the latest Adam Sandler drama, it’s hard not to hear the lyrics of Lazarus, David Bowie’s farewell composition. Not only does the content of the song correspond to the plot of Spaceman, but it is also significant that both the film and the song’s music video were directed by the same man. In his latest science fiction drama, Johan Renck ( Chernobyl , music videos for Bowie and Madonna) examines the condition of a man who has not only gone to a highly probable death in the galactic vastness, but who is starting to care about nothing. Sandler’s Jakub is on the verge of a breakdown (the actor oscillates somewhere between disbelief and physical impotence) and in a way it doesn’t matter to him whether this expedition turns out to be a success or his last dance in space. Day by day, small pieces of Jacob’s humanistic empathy break away from him. Without Lenka, he becomes a completely different person. And since we are all made up of constant repetitions, instead of trying to understand the situation in which he unfortunately finds himself, he reaches for the same narcotic emotions: anger, irritation and reproach towards the other person.

Look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen/I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen/Everybody knows me now

But where does guilt fit into this psychological equation?

It seems that without Lenka he can’t commit to anything, even his own journey. Until a mysterious, arachno-like creature (the soothing voice of Paul Dano) suddenly appears on the ship, whom Jakub later names Hanus. Sandler’s character thinks that these are just hallucinations, but when Hanus starts eating his fridge, one thing becomes certain: the unbearable lightness of reality is once again playing tricks on him. However, as it turns out, Hanus also suffers deeply and hides a secret. And yes, the entire appearance of Hanus is practically unexplained, it seems a bit random, but Renck, like Lynch, wants us to feel , not try to understand. Together, our two diverse heroes, thanks to their mutual contact and empathy, will become companions for an indefinite period of time. Due to lack of time and other activities, Jakub and Hanus will start talking, like friends meeting after many years. Most of the film (despite its quite abstract, script-related solutions) comes down to dialogue and jumps into the past in the form of distorted visions. It is in them that practically every second sentence spoken affects the emotional states of Lenka and Jakub, and also helps us learn more about their relationship.

Look up here, man, I’m in danger/I’ve got nothing left to lose/I’m so high it makes my brain whirl/Dropped my cell phone down below/Ain’t that just like me?

Interestingly, the film largely departs from the plot of the book, because it strips it of its political influences and focuses strictly on the spiritual layer, full of ecstatic emotionality and deeply hidden grievances. Renck is an incurable romantic who, through the script, wants to paint a picture of a relationship that has not (yet) been written off. The director draws from his autobiographical stories (unrequited loves, mistakes made, divorces), and he loves his characters and knows exactly how to lead them so that we can empathize with each of them. He cares about them, and there is nothing more beautiful than a creator who cares about his characters.

Sandler’s swan song resonates most when we put aside the audiovisual space, which looks like something straight out of some space music video. Calling Spaceman science fiction would not be an abuse, but this genre is quickly fading into the background (is it more of a psychological drama?), although without it there would be no story about the visit of the mysterious Hanus. And it is of great importance here and corresponds to the sentence from Toman. When Hanus appears, he and Jakub will try to restore the sun’s rays, which here can be a metaphor for a film relationship. Without Lenka, Jakub is nothing, although there is one caveat: in order for her to be someone and flourish with him, Jakub will have to understand his mistakes as soon as possible. Looks, gestures, small moments of rapture that can change everything, or the need to express the unsaid: will Jakub be able to notice what, in fact, usually seems imperceptible in long-term relationships?

Spaceman is a drama that resounds in those humorous moments when two characters, facing their own weaknesses and omnipresent bitterness, reach for the last time into the depths of their violated and unstable feelings. Despite the huge distance and practically no contact, they decide to operate on their once-in-love hearts. This is a dangerous experiment that is unlikely to succeed, but one thing is certain: Hanus is with them, and that is half the success. After all, there is nothing better than a therapist for long-distance couples.

Ain’t that just like me?*

spaceman” may physically be in the endless abyss of space, but his thoughts are constantly with his Lenka; as if the spaceship has become a purgatory for him, from which he longs but cannot escape until he corrects his own mistakes. It’s been a long time since any film has depicted the impossibility of a relationship in such a subtle way. That the relationship is mainly a conversation, not a competition with the main theme of “who is more right”. Spaceman is a deep vivisection of what should be said; all the formal rest is just an effective pretext that has its own rules.

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