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Although it borrows a lot of its story from Alien (claustrophobic, grimy interiors and set up) and the more recent Sunshine (end of the world intrigue and histrionics) this film has enough to offer those who are after a work of speculative fiction with a few frights thrown in.

Astronauts Bower (Ben Foster) and Payton (Dennis Quaid) awake from hyper sleep with “pandorum” — a form of sleeping sickness. Disoriented and literally in the dark as to what to do, they discover (via handy arm tattoos) that they are team number five to be woken up, presumably because the previous four teams have been unable to achieve their goal.

Bower realises they must reach the reactor core of the spaceship in order to power up and continue the mission. But Bower and Payton are unaware that the ship has been floating in deep space for a lot longer than either could possibly imagine.

Bower discovers a few allies along the way — and some nasties lurking in the shadows.

The film is essentially a post-apocalyptic allegory for starting over. The spaceship is a veritable Noah’s Ark of people and biology that could populate another planet.

The fact that the name of the ship is the Elysium (a Greek mythology term meaning a type of afterlife paradise) means the writers are mixing their spiritual metaphors somewhat.

As claustrophobia and paranoia take over the film delivers its biggest twist — one which won’t be revealed here.

Adrian Drayton


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