The talky, lo-fi science-fiction drama “Rubikon” appears like a teleplay that was produced on barely larger finances. Followers of this kind of speculative fiction will in all probability like “Rubikon” much more realizing that it’s set primarily in a single location (a global, corporate-owned house station) and largely issues three astronauts, all of whom distrust one another.
The yr is 2056 and oxygen-producing algae cultures maintain the important thing to humanity’s survival. Our three protagonists—Hannah (Julia Franz Richter), Gavin (George Blagden), and Dimitri (Mark Ivanir)—occur to own that algae, so they have to now determine who lives and who dies from the relative security of their cramped house station, the Rubikon.
“Rubikon” provides sci-fi followers a secure, B-movie-friendly view of an interpersonal drama that breaks out in the midst of a “Star Trek”-inspired and typically “The Twilight Zone”-Esque three-hander in regards to the finish of civilization. This modestly-scaled science-fiction film now appears quaint; it additionally tends to be extra compelling for its dialogue’s pulpy implications than no matter is definitely on-screen. “Rubikon” is a reassuring film about disquieting instances.
Author/director Leni Lauritsch and co-writer Jessica Lind instantly set up what sort of story they’re telling after they introduce Hannah and Gavin to the Rubikon’s crew members, notably sullen Dimitri and his sensitive son Danilo (Konstantin Frolov). Hannah and Gavin’s presence instantly places the Russians on edge, as a result, they characterize the Nibra Company, the house station’s absentee patrons. You would possibly then assume the worst about Hannah and Gavin since, in “Rubikon,” the longer term is set by companies (in response to an introductory textual content crawl). However these two characters are ostensibly not the identical type of privileged: Hannah’s a no-nonsense and typically chilly employed hand, together with her personal ambitions and abandonment points, and Gavin’s a pouty chemist from a wealthy, highly effective household. Which will look like a distinction with no distinction, however, learn on anyway.
Hannah and Gavin should not actually be dangerous individuals, however, Dimitri and Danilo should nonetheless study to believe them earlier than the plot of “Rubikon” can actually start. Till then, Hannah and Gavin speak their method into Rubikon’s postage-stamp-sized microcosm. They both comply or push previous Dimitri and his son’s questions, lots of which boil all the way down to: whose pursuits are you serving and why are you actually right here? Some sudsy and well-executed house drama ensues—an escape pod, a suicide try, a drunken card recreation—and shortly pulls everyone collectively. Till they obtain a misery sign from Earth, which forces them to determine what to do in regards to the ship’s algae cultures.
No person absolutely trusts one another in “Rubikon” since they’re all merchandise of environments that both now do not exist, or don’t actually matter outdoors the Rubikon. Hannah and her crew-mates nonetheless speak so much about what actually motivates them, in addition to how a lot they know, what they imply to one another, and many others. And as they speak, it turns into clear that “Rubikon” solely accommodates precisely what its characters have to articulate their principal issues. A handful of actors in diver-tight space suits speak at or previous one another and battle with selections that have been all the time effectively above their characters’ salaries.
To the impatient, “Rubikon” would possibly appear to be gentle on the plot; for everybody else, the film is nothing however its plot since Hannah and her friends solely serve to check and perhaps verify the film’s principal thesis that we aren’t all the identical, even when a few of us get pleasure from extra privilege than others, however, we’re all in the end in the identical cosmic boat. That type of pseudo-moderate philosophy is difficult to just accept, particularly in a drama place the one issue we have to find out about Hannah and Gavin is how they work together with one another in scenes that trace a budding relationship.
“Rubikon” presents itself as a B-movie morality play, one which doesn’t check your understanding of its character’s past and how they relate to the devastated and largely implied world outdoors the Rubikon. However, the confining limits of that type of story do typically facilitate good canned drama, as in any scene the place Dimitri and Hannah speak in regards to the well-being or necessity of, uh, the ship’s algae cultures.
Against this, Gavin and Hannah’s conversations are sometimes irritating since he normally challenges her to just accept that any given judgment name is extra difficult than it appears. He’s not incorrect, however, he’s additionally not pointing Hannah (or us) in the direction of something extra difficult than no matter’s already neatly instructed by means of his dialogue. “Rubikon” by no means presents viewers deep solutions to its larger questions, nevertheless it does pose sufficient inquiries to hold issues transferring when you watch.