Watch The American Astronaut
- 1 hr 34 min
The American Astronaut from 2001 is a bold and unique Sci-Fi film that highlights the journey of an astronaut named Samuel Curtis, portrayed by musician and filmmaker Cory McAbee. Directed and written by McAbee, the movie takes place in a non-descript time in the future when traveling by spaceships is a routine affair. The plot follows Samuel Curtis, who holds a mission to trade a cat for a human being in exchange for a rich bounty.
The story begins with Curtis, a space cowboy, traveling through the Solar System, visiting different planets to deliver goods such as liquor to the local inhabitants. Curtis, who no longer wants to trade rabbits and cats for booze, seeks a better deal. Later on, he receives a proposal from Professor Hess (Rocco Sisto) to transport the world's first cloned human, Johnny, from Earth to Venus to cure an epidemic. However, while in Venus, Curtis finds himself in a tricky situation to trade Johnny to The Blueberry Pirate (Gregory Russell Cook) for a significant amount of money.
The American Astronaut is a unique and quirky feature film that uses eclectic and creative musical numbers to advance the plot as opposed to dialogue. The film features a unique musical score composed and performed by the film's creator, McAbee, used to create a surreal and whimsical atmosphere. Additionally, the movie's storyline is not given to exposition, and the film's meaning is left open to the interpretation of the viewer.
The film's direction and acting are admirable, with McAbee creating a world that seems both futuristic but also nostalgic. He places heavy emphasis on his characters' mannerisms, subtly emphasizing their values and motivations through understated performances. The cinematography and production design add to the movie's retro-futuristic vibe, which takes queues from classic science fiction films and blends modern elements to make the world feel unique.
The American Astronaut creates is both unsettling and humorous; there are moments, often involving dark humor or absurdity, where viewers find it difficult to determine if what is happening on-screen is horrific or laughable. In one scene, Curtis travels through space to collect the remains of an old friend. He laments his friend's fate, but moments later uses the body as a puppet to perform a musical number. This cocktail of emotions creates a surreal viewing experience that is entirely unique to McAbee's vision.
The film explores various themes, including existentialism, morality, and the human condition. Through various montages that use dance and bartering, the movie shows the humans of the universe dealing with the issues of isolation, survival, and coping with the struggles that life presents to them. Additionally, the film examines the consequences of experimenting with cloning humans, a concept that was vastly unexplored in mainstream cinema during the time.
Overall, The American Astronaut is a mostly undiscovered gem for movie audiences. It's visually and audibly creative, often unsettling, yet humorous, and explores various themes with a refreshing and bold approach. The film's emphasis on musical numbers sets it apart from other science fiction films, and its unique style and construction will appeal to those who appreciate a bold artistic vision. It's an exhilarating film, and one that never forgets its quirky nature even when addressing moral and social themes.
The American Astronaut is a 2001 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 51.