Voyage to the End of the Universe 1963 ★★★★½

The crew of Ikarus XB-1 are on a mission to find a new hospitable planet orbiting around Alpha Centauri but on the way there they run into unexpected trouble.

While Hollywood was churning out kitschy alien B-movies by the dozen, the czechs were making this intelligent, ambitious film that shares a lot in common with later films like Solaris and 2001.

Although I struggled with the first 20 minutes or so (I think this was mainly down to the language barrier and having to read subtitles,) and all the exterior models are terribly primative, this is a film that really draws you in with interesting characters and a compelling story. Beginning with a lone crew member trying to escape the prying eyes of the ship's security system and the opening lines "The Earth is gone! The Earth never existed!" you can feel the isolation instantly and as the film goes on this becomes one of its key themes as the crew begin to doubt they'll ever seen a habitable planet or Earth again.

The film's final third is where it really excels and while some of the crew are all too ready to admit defeat, others have faith that they will make it through. The final scene is treated perfectly and left deliberately ambiguous for you to draw your own conclusions.

A pleasant surprise and a film I can see myself revisiting. Available on youtube

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