New Sci-Fi Releases: Assassinaut (2019) - Reviewed

In Assassinaut, four overachieving teenagers are sent to space on an exploration mission, in a futuristic timeline.  On their way, an assassination attempt on the President of Earth leaves the team stranded on the alien planet where they must cooperate to survive while hopefully find and save the president.  

With a title like Assassinaut, most will probably not be expecting to sit down to watch something with high quality.  I, myself, expected something over the top and hopefully campy.  Having this expectation will leave you sorely disappointed!  Nothing about this movie is over the top nor campy, ironic, or fun in any way.  Low-key is the best word that comes to mind when thinking about the vibe of this flick.

Much of the plot unfolds organically, making the audience do the heavy-lifting when it comes to figuring out what is going on.  I could compare this to a movie like THX1138, where the intention of George Lucas was to allow the audience to feel like they discovered an artifact from another world.  However, if I did, I would be paying this movie a great compliment that I do not think it deserves.  Instead of feeling absorbed into a mysterious world different than my own, I kept questioning what was going on and why.  The low-key nature of the entire film did not help keep my attention.

You are now in Mara's sights. And down you go. 

While some of the characters have some high emotional content to deal with, the story follows a rather dry young girl, Sarah. Though her backstory is highlighted in the beginning of the movie, there is not much to connect with. She has almost no personality.  Shannon Hutchinson, who plays Sarah, competently portrayed the character, she just did not seem to have much to work with.  I wondered why the movie focuses on the teen with the LEAST amount of personality out of the four.  Then again, the other three that do have slightly more personality are all unlikable for their own individual reasons. 

The best part of the movie is the original score, done by composer Darius Holbert.  The synth soundtrack is very reminiscent of something John Carpenter would have done. The music gave the movie mood where it would not have already been, plus there is a killer track that plays over the end credits.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not enough to make this one worth sitting down and committing 86 minutes of your life on. It is hard to pay attention to, difficult to care about, and the ending is anti-climatic and underwhelming. 

-Mara Powell