Movie Review: Capricorn One (1979)

Length: 2Hr 4Min
Rating: PG
About: Three astronauts (James Brolin, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson) are about to launch into space on the first mission to Mars. But when a mechanical failure surfaces that would kill the three men, NASA removes them from the Capricorn One capsule. To prevent a public outcry, NASA launches the capsule unmanned and requires the astronauts to film fake mission footage in a studio. However, the plan is compromised when an ambitious journalist (Elliott Gould) discovers the conspiracy.

The Good

Bloody hell, talk about a legacy cast. There’s nothing better than watching an old school film and recognising people you watch. Not only that, they’re 30 years younger. James Brolin, Elliot Gould and ? all bring their a-game to this chilling political conspiracy thriller. I’d have liked to have seen more from ?, as early parts of the film hint at a comedic side I’ve not seen in his most recent roles.

The film has this delightful slow build of a plot which you simply don’t see getting made in Hollywood nowadays. There’s no heavy pattern or formulaic action sequences. Elliot Gould may take top billing when it comes to the credits, but there’s no clear star driving this plot forward.

In an age where movies are catering for an over-stimulated audience, this is a nice change of pace; it’s atmospheric, chilling and emotive. I’m not ashamed to say, I jumped twice at events I wasn’t expecting. Actually, I yelped too at one and screamed at the other.

The Bad

As I said, there’s no star. Unfortunately while it’s a blessing, it’s also the film’s curse. As a result of no one person being followed, the plot feels overly choppy and, at times, hard to follow. It also gave the film an overall uneasy feeling and while I don’t personally like it, I can’t deny that it adds to the whole film.

The Ugly

why was the on-trend colour of the 70s all shades of brown? Literally everything in this film; from costumes to sets was brown. This is such a personal thing but picking a colour palate because it’s in fashion dates a film and it’s a shame because the theme and conspiracy at the heart of this movie has a timeless ‘fake news’ quality about it.

Love Han x


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