****/**** Image B Sound A Extras A-
starring Cory McAbee, Rocco Sisto, Gregory Russell Cook, Annie Golden
written and directed by Cory McAbee
by Walter Chaw Opening with a mordant prologue that reminds of the expressionless absurdist sensibility of the late Douglas Adams and proceeding through something somewhere between Six-String Samurai and Dead Man (but a science-fiction musical), Cory McAbee's The American Astronaut is dead brilliant. Demonstrating a truly dazzling level of technical proficiency (despite or due to what must have been a non-budget) and a breathless creativity fecund and macabre, the picture reminds of Harlan Ellison, Dr. Strangelove, and Dark Star in equal measure. Ultimately, The American Astronaut is something all its own, a film that sets itself up as an old-fashioned serial and goes on to explore cinematic and literary theory with a keen eye for composition and an ear for mad scenario and perverse dialogue. The reasoning is Beckett, the execution is Brecht and Weill, and the results are best described as an educational reel directed by David Lynch circa Eraserhead: self-aware and hallucinatory.