‘Space Station 76’: black comedy that’s darker than a Colombian blend [MOVIE REVIEW]
SXSW Movie Review: ‘Space Station 76’
The future of the past is definitely one strange place. In “Space Station 76,” we are transported to director Jack Plotnick’s surprisingly on-point vision of a ’70s futuristic space dramedy. And for the most part this film is not only a superb Sci-Fi flick, but an excellently executed dramedy. Viewer be warned, however, this comedy is incredibly dark and moody.
This film can absolutely be deemed a black comedy, touching on themes of sexual repression, divorce and unhappy couples without that spark, suicide and clinical depression. The best part of a black comedy is when subjects can be put in a light that is both serious and with the weight that the topics deserve, while also giving that good old morbid laugh we tend to have at the least appropriate times. Plotnick seems to really get how a black comedy should be handled. The movie illustrates that corny futuristic vision of the future we all know and love from ’70s and ’80s sci-fi. It’s beautiful and outright amazing to see the space station in the first sequence of events. Everything from the individual ships to the space suits the crew members wear is outrageous in the best way possible.
Nothing like this in any way whatsoever
The campiness is strong in this movie and it really hits its stride when playing into the absurd premise. Watching Doc Bot hand valium for basically anything was a gold mine and seeing Patrick Wilson take advantage of the bot was a great laugh of a scene. Unfortunately the movie is a bit too good of a black comedy, erring more on the side of black than comedy.
Wilson’s captain character in particular gets a little too dark for my taste, sometimes not really funny at all. His character deals with depression, suicidal thoughts, and repressed bisexuality. Tough themes for a dramedy set in 1970s spaceland.
Luckily the cast and crew really nailed the set design and character portrayals. For how dark the film was, it was really well-made and seemed to intentionally contrast the beautiful, seemingly perfect futuristic setting with the grim complexities of human existence. You get this feeling that even paradise has its flaws. You can freeze a puppy and sneak it on, but that doesn’t mean it will be defrosted correctly. My biggest problem with the film is that it peters out in the end and doesn’t really resolve anything. The experience was rewarding and enjoyable until I realized that none of the characters really get any type of resolution or ending per say. It’s a choice of the director that I respect, but not necessarily the best one for this viewer.
Overall, the film was a treat to watch, even with a few minor flaws. Make sure to check out this film when and if you get the chance for a look at the tomorrow of yesterday.