Blu-ray Review: Attraction

STUDIO: Dark Sky Films | DIRECTOR: Fedor Bondarchuk | CAST: Oleg Menshikov, Rinal Mukhametov, Alexander Petrov, Irina Starshenbaum
RELEASE DATE: Dec. 4, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $19.89, Blu-ray $11.99
BONUSES: three featurettes, FX breakdown, trailer
SPECS: NR | 133 min. | Foreign language science fiction action thriller | 16:9 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | Russian and English with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video | Overall

The 2017 Russian sci-fi action thriller Attraction is the latest offering from Fedor Bondarchuk, son of noted Russian filmmaker Sergei Bondarchuk, whose landmark 1965 saga War and Peace was the first Soviet picture to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

As can be seen in some of Fedor’s most notable films—including 2005’s 9th Company and 2013’s Stalingrad—Sergei’s son appears to have inherited his eye for epic, large-scale entertainment. Attraction is no exception.

The sprawling story tells of an alien spaceship that crash-lands in a Moscow district, taking down dozens of buildings and Russians in the process. The government quickly introduces martial law to the district, as the aliens appear to be working on repairing their ship and the locals grow increasingly angry at the unwelcome visitors. In the midst of all this is a personal story involving the army colonel who’s overseeing the military operation (Oleg Menshikov) and his lively daughter Yulya (Irina Starshenbaum), who develops a romantic relationship with an alien known as Hijken (Rinal Mukhametov), much to the distress of her ex-boyfriend (Alexander Petrov).

According to co-writer/director Bondarchuk, Attraction is a social allegory inspired by the 2013 Biryulyovo riots, which found nationalists and locals violently attacking properties owned by immigrants following the killing of a Russian man, a crime allegedly committed by a migrant. One can see how Attraction taps into the kind of nationalist zeal that erupted into that violence, and the general feeling is that it’s that exact mood which propelled the film to becoming Russia’s highest-grossing sci-fi production of all time.

But I don’t think it’s the politics–or the so-so performances–that work as much as the striking visual effects, razzle-dazzle ship and aliens, well-mounted action scenes and general high-end sequences of destruction. They’re the most entertaining aspect of Attraction, and they borrow liberally from such Hollywood sci-fiers as Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Starman and so on and so on….

Worth catching? Definitely for big-budget sci-fi fans—oh, waitaminute, this one was brought in for less than $7 million–which actually makes it all the more impressive.

Buy or Rent Attraction

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.