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Spaceman is a 2016 film where Jakub has been into space for close to 189 days giving him an opportunity to make research on mysterious Chopra cloud Chaudhary. He is reaching his breaking point.Short of sleep in a rickety spaceship whose days are well behind it, his mind is not focused on the mission at hand; it’s the pregnant wife Lenka who refuses to communicate with him that occupies his mind. But he knows something has happened despite Dr Peter (Kunal Nayyar) and Commissioner Tuma (an under-utilized Isabella Rossellini) efforts at Mission Control to cool his nerves. When Hanus, a primordial spider voiced by Paul Dano, materializes in the spacecraft Jakub wonders if what he sees scuttling across his cramped capsule is real or just some figment of an exhausted imagination desiring sleep. With this assistance from this arachnid, he might possibly gain enlightenment about not only himself but also about everything else in existence.

In fact, Sandler’s new character seems like he might have just beamed down from another planet—like one of those unnamed astronauts from Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color”–he’s got this daze going on ever since we first see him entering the film like some lunar Zombie with that silver reflective faceplate shielding us away from whatever kind of state lies beneath it while making direct eye contact and kneeling before his sleeping son Alexey. These films — “Ad Astra” and “First Man” — are about unflappable men who go on excursions to the outer regions instead of dealing with their own domestic disasters involving their children or their unresolved father wounds for years. Instead, there are those males who would prefer to travel through space so as to confide in such a monster like spider.With Hanus, Jakub does initiate a kind of therapy, talking through his harsh childhood memories and present insecurities in a ruminative space film that is short on majesty but long on empathy.

The first fifty minutes or so of “Spaceman,” however, are tough going. We mostly just see the tight confines of the spaceship; Hanus only takes us out of this room any time he goes into Jakub’s memories to find out why he is always so sad. DP Jakob Ihre shoots these flashback sequences from the perspective of a spider, oblique and reflective, but nauseatingly limited in their capacity for composing informative frames to give us more than the equally narrow dialogue is providing. The images of space, no matter what the ethereal score is trying to sell, are also quite flat, looking more like purple sludge clouds than awe inspiring remnants of the galaxy’s beginning. The script’s dialogue, adapted from Jaroslav Kalfař’s sci-fi novel Spaceman of Bohemia is rendered repetitively: For a while it sounds like Mulligan’s only lines will be “Where you go, I go.” But then the film finds its rhythm.

Even his other dramatic turns earlier such as “Uncut Gems” or “The Meyerowitz Stories,” Sandler is quite different here. There is no big tantrum, a flash of anger that could not be controlled. His best tool has always been being able to mine dramatic grace notes from raw emotion. Thus one may be initially puzzled when the hammer seems worn out so to say. The quiet melancholy was planned this way. Jakub is not really a likable guy. He still grieves for the death of his communist informant father and even while Sandler and pretty much all the space team are apparently Czechs— he still struggles to open up and think of Lenka’s needs. With what we have seen, it is clear that although we do not know why Lenka even liked him, the sunken face, tired look and stiff body of Dano give him a character.

This particular film does intentionally maintain a silly air despite its dour tone and grim lighting. I mean come on Sandler in space with a giant spider – there must be jokes right? And then there are some funny moments which seem naturally derived from Dano’s understated delivery in this script . This spider bears with it an element of heaviness; something you would expect from one that might have been existing since time immemorial. Additionally, vulnerability mixed with charity endears both Jakub and viewers to him too.this means literally laughter as well as warmth comes along when they hug each other.

“Spaceman” has many flaws though. Mulligan’s character is underwritten — we don’t know what she does for a living or if she has her own dreams or aspirations, but maybe that’s kind of the point.The lean script requires the actress to try something difficult which would crumble in the hands of slack performers.Such materials aside Mulligan finds life within herself.It may also be too quiet too thoughtful, too sad for some people’s tastes. But this register just makes me happy about Sandler. He no longer surprises with a defined, memorable dramatic performance; it is expected of him now. And in “Spaceman,” a movie that reflects on how to move on from your past, how to take care of another person and re-invent yourself before it becomes late, then the phrase “the Sandman in space” should not become a cheap tagline but has actual meaning that something fundamental is going to happen here.

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