Director: Timo Vuorensola
Starring: Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Christopher Kirby, Gotz Otto, Peta Sergeant
Written by: Michael Kalesniko, Johanna Sinisalo and (original story) Jarmo Puskala
Running Time: 93 mins
Release date: 23rd May 2012
It is not often that a true cult classic is born before the film is even released. Most are nurtured or taken under the wing by a select few or a cinema will play it to empty houses, hoping that those who have seen it will spread the word. Not in the case of Iron Sky. This had cult written on it way before it’s long awaited release.
Born from a dream, it was first conceived in 2006, where a short teaser was taken to Cannes by the director Timo Vuorensola and his producers, hoping to get some form of financial backing. This channel sort of worked so the producers turned to an unlikely source…the fans. And so the film was finally made, put together and packaged and sent off to festivals. It really made the news over in the UK when distributors Revolver banished the film direct-to-video, holding a one night screening, causing outrage from both fans and film makers alike. The response made the company do a huge turn-around and now the film is screening across the country in very selective cinemas for an indefinite time (as well as releasing it on blu-ray and DVD).
So what is all the fuss about? Well, this is a low budget, absolutely bonkers sci-fi adventure that has possibly the best plot you will find in any movie this year. Sent on a moon mission by the President of the USA (with uncanny similarities to a certain Sarah Palin) in order to win a second term, the astronauts come under attack from an unlikely force. German Nazis! Hiding on the dark side of the moon since the end of World War II, they have been preparing to attack earth in a giant craft powered by an enormous and clumsy computer system.
And that’s about it. I don’t really want to give too much away because this is a gem of a movie and has to be seen to be believed. Never has a film from Finland managed to capture the attention of so many. And I can see why. It’s a blast from start to finish.
The most impressive thing about this film is the special effects. For a film with hardly a budget, the effects manage to blow out of the water anything that the biggest blockbusters with budgets of millions have to offer. The space crafts are incredibly detailed and there is obviously a lot of love put into the process.
The script is not only inventive but some points hilariously funny. The audience at the screening I attended (at the excellent Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square) were not just giggling but laughing very much out loud. The film has a lot of subtitles but even these were very funny (the German officers seeing a modern porn mag and commenting on the women’s lack of hair got the biggest laughs).
The cast also seem to be enjoying the madness. German actress Julia Dietze not only looks great but is a solid lead. Legendary actor Udo Kier, star of plenty of Andy Warhol’s films, is perfectly cast as the German Fuhrer while Christopher Kirby, who has been in quite a few big name films, gets to shine as the surviving astronaut.
There’s loads of nods to other films, from The Great Dictator (a delicious gag about editing here), Dr Strangelove and Watermelon Man. It is also a delightful satire on politics and says more about US Policy than The Dictator did and these are the bits that I absolutely loved about it.
If you are bored with the current crop of mindless blockbusters that get churned out week in and week out, then do yourself a favour and go see this surprising gem. It’s heart is firmly in the low budget genre flick but it’s vision is far bigger and it deserves a huge audience to appreciate that, no matter what the budget, if you have a good story, a sense of fun and a love for what you are doing, then you should have loads of people seeing your work. Well done, Timo Vuorensola, you have done brilliant work.