Sean Penn, a two-time Oscar winner, returns to the big screen, appearing dramatically grim and fearlessly romping around in a bulletproof vest while conflict erupts around him.
“Superpower” follows Penn on seven travels to Ukraine before and after Russian soldiers invaded the independent country, resulting in a nearly 600-day battle that has taken thousands of lives.
Penn, 63, appears to have placed acting – he made a brief appearance in 2021’s “Licorice Pizza” and was featured in 2022’s “Gaslit” – on a par with his proclivity for being in dangerous locations (Syria, Beirut) with often dangerous people (Mexican drug lord El Chapo).
In “Superpower,” he recognises how this appears. “‘Who do you think you are, do you have a saviour complex, do you think you’re Walter Cronkite?”, Penn’s response is straightforward: “I’m curious, and my famous face gets me access.”
The result is a love letter to both Ukraine’s actor-turned-president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who will attend the United Nations this week and meet with President Joe Biden, and a people battling for their right to exist.