Pandorum (2009)★★★★★


I’ve seen this movie once or twice before, but oddly can’t remember whether I saw it in theaters or not. I have to imagine that means I did not, in fact, see it in theaters – it seems most likely that I was watching this at home while distracting myself with other things. Because I just did not remember how awesome this movie really is.

Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the string of pretty good movies I’ve been watching lately that’s been softening me up…maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for Ben Foster (and Dennis Quaid!)…maybe it’s just because this is a really awesome movie.

It starts out interesting and builds from there. I love how information unfolds here – you learn things as Bower does (and sometimes as Payton does) and every new piece of information is more terrifying and intriguing than the last. The way they tell the story here means there are a lot of reveals, but they’re so well timed and the final reveal is pretty powerful. There’s a good payoff at the end of this and very few unanswered questions.

I mentioned Ben Foster (as Bower) and Dennis Quaid (as Payton) earlier, and they were both fantastic, but one performance stood out more than the other. Ben Foster has always sort of had that crazy look in his eyes, so this role didn’t seem like too much of a stretch, but I am constantly impressed with Dennis Quaid’s performances and this was arguably one of the best I’ve seen. I feel like he was close to the awesomeness level of Bill Paxton in Alien in this, and his descent into madness is both believable and well timed, something I find rare in movies.

Cam Gigandet (Gallo) and Norman Reedus (Shepard) make brief but memorable appearances in this but the focus is on Foster and Quaid and they definitely deliver. The rest of the supporting cast was great as well – mostly lesser-known actors which made it easier to focus on the story than on the actors, and it’s a good story to focus on. There are a few pretty violent scenes but this is mostly just a good sci-fi mystery.

And if you’re wondering, yes, I had the thought of watching this in my head since yesterday’s movie was another sci-fi movie set in the future with a one-word title starting with the letter P. But I’m glad it worked out this way. This is a great movie.