Viking TIFF Review 2022 Film Space

Movie Bunker Score:

Exploring the Enigmatic Nature of Viking

Viking, a forthcoming science-fiction drama directed and co-written by Stéphane Lafleur, offers a captivating character study that leaves you pondering the real identities of the individuals involved. The film revolves around the life of David, a passionate physical education teacher yearning to become an astronaut. As the first manned Mars mission faces interpersonal conflicts among the astronauts, David receives an opportunity from the Viking Society to participate in a simulated Mars mission. He joins a group of five subjects carefully selected for their similarities to the real-life astronauts, including Larissa Corriveau as “Steven” and Fabiola N. Aladin as the group’s supervisor, “Janet.” David’s ultimate aspiration is to rectify the problems faced by the actual astronauts and potentially secure his own place among the stars.

Intrigue and Subterfuge: Unraveling the Characters

One of the most intriguing aspects of Viking lies in the duality between the characters’ simulated personas and their true identities. Chosen for their resemblance to the astronauts, they are instructed to mimic their behavior and choices, even down to certain biological functions. With each decision and interaction, you question whether these mirror those of the astronauts. Moreover, the unsettling notion arises as to whether the actions of the cast are solely shaped by their assigned roles or if they possess agency over themselves. “Steven” emerges as the character who appears to perceive the flaws in the experiment from the outset. Her initial nonchalance gradually unravels, raising questions about the toll that embodying another person’s persona takes on her psyche. Does she anticipate the sacrifices required to fully embrace that identity? And if so, would the powers overseeing the simulation support her commitment? The film presents a pivotal moment for David where a certain video exposes the depths to which the experiment will go to ensure the authenticity of the simulation. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Viking offers a rather bleak outlook on the process of space exploration and the treatment of individuals like David.

A Stellar Cast Embraces Ambiguity

The performances in Viking are exceptional, as each actor injects additional layers into their characters. The cast skillfully navigates the ambiguity surrounding the delineation between personal and assigned choices. Fabiola N. Aladin’s portrayal of “Janet” stands out, particularly considering her initial position within the mission. While it may seem that her stern and disciplined demeanor stems from her own personality, there is a constant reminder that she may simply be embodying the real Janet. This raises questions about the extent of their similarity and the internal conflicts she experiences. It is these inquiries that truly elevate Viking and prompt us to question the true nature of the characters themselves.

An Evocative Visual Style

Viking’s visual aesthetics aptly convey the cold and austere atmosphere of the program. The deliberate use of dull and colorless negative space in numerous shots frames the characters as mere components of the environment. Remarkably, there are moments when one forgets that the characters are not actually in space, attesting to the film’s immersion. However, during emotionally charged and discomforting sequences, the standardized shot composition somewhat diminishes the impact. Notably, Sara Mishara’s cinematography masterfully captures the bleak yet dreamlike ambiance, creating a hypnotic quality that keeps viewers engaged. Viking’s visual presentation, while occasionally conventional, manages to captivate through its overall aesthetics.

The Limitations and Resonance of Viking

Although Viking’s ambitions sometimes outpace its execution, particularly concerning the rationale behind the experiment, the film thrives on its ambiguity. The psychological aspects could have been further exploited to intensify the disorientation experienced by the audience. Yet, the restraint in exploring too deeply into the characters’ psyches contributes to the overall unsettling nature of the story. Despite these minor shortcomings, Viking offers a fresh perspective within the realm of space travel films. It combines familiar elements with surprising developments that leave a lasting impression. If you are intrigued by the subject matter, Viking is a thought-provoking film that deserves your attention.


Viking, directed by Stéphane Lafleur, presents a profound exploration of character and identity within the context of a simulated Mars mission. Anchored by strong performances and evocative visuals, the film captivates with its enigmatic nature and thought-provoking themes. While not without some logistical inconsistencies, Viking offers a unique and refreshing take on the genre of space exploration. Its ambiguous storytelling and introspective examination of the characters elevate it to a level that distinguishes it from other films in the genre. Viking challenges our perceptions and leaves us questioning the true essence of the characters we encounter.

Frequently Asked Questions About Viking

1. Is Viking based on a true story?

No, Viking is a fictional science-fiction drama centered around a simulated Mars mission.

2. Are there any historical references in Viking?

While Viking is not directly based on historical events, it incorporates elements of space exploration history and draws inspiration from real-world astronaut missions.

3. What is the main theme of Viking?

Viking explores the complex interplay between personal identity and assigned roles, shedding light on the sacrifices and challenges faced by individuals in pursuit of their dreams.

4. How does Viking differentiate itself from other space exploration films?

Unlike many space exploration films that focus solely on the grandeur of space and technological advancements, Viking delves into the psychological implications and interpersonal dynamics of a simulated mission.

5. What are some memorable moments in Viking?

One particularly memorable moment in Viking involves a revealing video shown to the protagonist, David, which exposes the extremes to which the simulation is willing to push its participants. This scene showcases the film’s ability to elicit discomfort and challenge the character’s resolve.