Spacewalker | Gripping Cold War tale behind the first ever spacewalk

Spacewalker Spacewalk Evgeniy Mironov Alexey Leonov
(Image credit: © 2017 Bazelevs, Mirsand Ltd. U)

Spacewalker Spacewalk Evgeniy Mironov Alexey Leonov

'Moscow, we have a problem.'

The Russian equivalent of Apollo 13, the gripping adventure film Spacewalker (aka Spacewalk) chronicles the Soviet Union’s touch-and-go efforts to achieve the first ever spacewalk.

It’s 1965: the height of the Space Race and the Cold War, and the endeavour really is seat-of-the-pants stuff. Gung-ho cosmonaut Alexey Leonov and his more sober co-pilot Pavel Belyayev have to contend with dodgy airlocks, decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity and wonky re-entry rockets.

Most perilous of all, their spacesuits are cumbersome and inflexible, while the apparatchiks down below are equally unbending. The mishaps and near disasters go on and on, making this a thrillingly nerve-wracking watch.

Certificate 12. Runtime 140 mins. Director Dmitriy Kiselev

Spacewalker (Vremya pervykh) available on DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.