On Wednesday, April 12, the solemn premiere of Klim Shipenko's film "Challenge" was held in Moscow. The project has been talked about for a long time and a lot - after all, the director and the performer of the main role for the first time in the history of feature films flew into space to shoot the material.
Earlier, Tom Cruise said that he intends to go to the ISS to shoot a film in space. The head of Universal, Donna Langley, said in 2022 that she and the actor have "a great project: to deliver a rocket to the space station and shoot." But now it is clear that Hollywood filmmakers will be only the second. In addition, based on the announced plans, it can be assumed that their picture will be far from reality - it is extremely unlikely that a positive outcome for anyone on the station, about which cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who also played one of the central roles in the "Challenge", said: "Here only three millimeters separate you from death." After all, the thickness of the walls of the sealed shell of the ISS modules is 3 mm of metal.
"Challenge" is quite convincing and realistic: there are no pumped up superheroes, no shooting in all directions. There are also no dubious plot solutions, familiar to many fantastic films: the fuel does not run out at the most inopportune moment and no "alien" heroes attack. This film is not about this at all – it is primarily about duty, character, human will, about how one professional, despite all the difficulties and dangers, takes risks to save another.
- Still from the filming of the film "Challenge"
- © vyzov.roscosmos.ru
First of all, "Challenge" is good because of a well-thought-out script. One can, of course, question the sudden incident in outer space, when a member of the Russian crew of the ISS receives a serious injury, but here it is necessary to make allowance for the fact that the story is artistic and, above all, should captivate the viewer and keep his attention. And the film completely copes with this - by the way each central character, his character and story are written, it is clear that the authors were rooting for their brainchild, checking every line and every plot twist to the smallest detail.
The main character is a thoracic surgeon Evgeniya Belyaeva, a woman with a difficult fate: she lost her husband under tragic circumstances and alone brings up her daughter Masha (Varvara Volodina). At first, her flight to the ISS was not seriously considered by anyone - a group of candidates has already been selected who are undergoing tests and pre-flight training. And life circumstances do not allow Evgenia to go on a space business trip: her daughter was filed with the police because of a conflict with a classmate, and the victim's father is a prosecutor (Alexander Samoilenko), he does not go to the world and threatens to bring the case to court in order to "decide everything in the legal field."
During the tests, some of the candidates are eliminated, and Vlad (Milos Bikovic), a colleague and old friend of Evgenia, goes to the final. But as a result, it is not he who is sent to the ISS. "Because she's cool," Vlad tells the assistant at the surgery. However, in fact, behind the decision to send Belyaeva into space were a number of other factors, primarily her professionalism and perseverance.
The first two-thirds of the film - even before sending the heroine to the ISS - look in one breath in the complete absence of action scenes. The characters are interesting to watch, the storylines are built logically and cohesively, and the characters are played authentically. You believe what is happening on the screen, but you empathize with the characters. At the premiere, many spectators in the hall sneakily wiped away tears at particularly dramatic moments and applauded in spectacular scenes - and there are many of them in "Challenge".
- Still from the movie "Challenge"
- © vyzov.roscosmos.ru
Watching the preparation for the flight and the training of candidates is especially interesting when you realize that Julia Peresild and Klim Shipenko went through all these tests and actually flew into space, and did not shoot everything in the studio pavilion. The episodes in the IL-76 MDK laboratory plane are also shocking, which goes into a controlled dive to allow the subjects to feel themselves in weightlessness for 25 seconds and understand how to move in it.
The film crew represented by the director, actress and three cosmonauts - Oleg Novitsky, Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov - spent 12 days on the ISS. During this time, 30 hours of material were shot, of which the final version of the picture included about half an hour - almost a quarter of the total timing. The viewer, spoiled by space fiction, will not immediately feel the full value of these 30 minutes, but as soon as you realize that what is happening on the screen is not graphics, not studio shooting, but real weightlessness on the space station 400 km from Earth, as you begin to penetrate seriously! There is also some inconvenience in this: due to the lack of binding to one plane and the constant somersaults of the heroes in the narrow spaces of the ISS transitions, even the viewer's head can spin. It remains only to guess what Julia Peresild and Klim Shipenko experienced, who managed to shoot such a beautiful material in such conditions.
The only drawback of "Challenge" is a rather rough insertion of advertising products. It's no secret that an impressive budget is needed to shoot a tape of this scale, so sponsorship investments had to be worked out, but transferring money from space through a banking application looks somewhat comical. As well as the phrase of one of the employees of the Mission Control Center "we have nothing here except MegaFon catching" in response to a complaint about the lack of communication at the building. However, you can close your eyes to these moments against the background of all the advantages of the film.
Shipenko's "Challenge" is a powerful picture that, without moralizing and moralizing, places accents in the question: "Who are the real heroes?" This film is an example for the younger generation and an interesting story for older viewers.
"The Challenge" is released in wide release on April 20.