FILM REVIEW: Cosmic Sin
“Are you sure you can handle that thing?”
“I’ve handled bigger”
On 18 February 2021, the rover Perseverance (launched by NASA in 2020) finally landed on Mars. It is an exceptional feat in engineering and advancement in planetary exploration. Fascination with outer space has existed for centuries and has only grown since we were all forced inside our homes. It has spawned countless films and television series. Some ground-breaking, others worthless. Cosmic Sin is the latter making you wish humans never bothered to think about life beyond Earth.
After hostile first contact is made with an undiscovered alien civilisation, a ragtag group of soldiers must stop an interstellar war before it begins.
Bruce Willis begrudgingly leads as retired General James Ford. It is clear in every shot: Willis wonders why he decided to be in this film. Frank Grillo tries to get out of this film as soon as possible. Adelaide Kane does her absolute best to make something out of nothing. Award for standout performance with no screen time goes to C.J. Perry. She plays tough-as-nails sniper Sol Cantos who has to deal with gawking from all the men. Would have been a far better film if she had shot them all and went on the run.
Alas, Cosmic Sin is a blokey film. It stays surface level the entire time, never breaching the atmosphere of emotion. When it does attempt to create depth, it is too little too late. All relationships of any significance are established within a few lines of dialogue. The audience is never shown why these bonds are important, they are told. Heartbreaks, deaths and revelations later in the film crash land because they have not been given adequate time to develop. No matter how manipulative the orchestral/electronic soundtrack is, it cannot save the storyline from its lack of stakes. This would not be problematic if the fight scenes were fantastic. Unfortunately, they are only totally adequate. Futuristic gun fights, spaceship battles and explosions will always be cool but there are not many of them. Those situations are exactly what this film banks on and they fail to reach expectations. Ultimately, nothing can save the narrative from crumbling on itself.
Technical aspects of the film are its saving grace. Miraculously, the camera is on and captures the action. Maybe not in the most engaging way but it certainly tries. Considering the budget, the CGI is convincing and easy to look at. It mixes well with the futuristic set design, arguably the strongest element of the film. Costumes work to solidify the interstellar setting. It is a shame that there is dialogue over the soundtrack because the music is really great. Even with all of these put together, they cannot paper over the substantial cracks left by an underwhelming story.
Films are meant to make their audience feel something. Whether that is happiness because it is great or anger because it is terrible. This film elicits neither; it is simply unsatisfying to watch. Nothing in the hour thirty minute runtime pays off. Nothing new, exciting or fun is told through the extremely forgiving science-fiction genre. Cosmic Sin commits many evils. Best send it to purgatory where it will hopefully be cleansed of its greatest sin: unoriginality.
“You’re an idiot”
Cosmic Sin is in now in cinemas across Australia (released 11 March 2021)