Monday, May 30, 2011

#336: The Man Who Fell to Earth

Directed by: NICOLAS ROEG
1976, TSPDT Rank #509

Another Roeg film. I said that Don't Look Now was a very unconventional horror film, and in keeping with Nicolas Roeg's trademark unconventionality, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a very unconventional sci-fi film. In fact, it's even very unique for a cult classic (which it most definitely is) because it's not an exploitation film at all. Despite the sexuality/nudity quite heavily present throughout, this is a subdued, reflective film. It doesn't play out the way you expect it do, and doesn't end the way we are trained to think it should. Actually, a lot of people who watch this movie have a hard time comprehending it, because the despair and emptiness that seem to jump in at the end don't seem acceptable to us. In a very matter-of-fact way, we are shown how the excesses and "luxuries" of human life on Earth will also be our downfall, as they are for the unfortunate and ultimately defenseless alien (played wonderfully by David Bowie) who comes to our planet to reap some of its benefits for his dying home country. Terrifying but perhaps necessary question: Might our country also be a dying one, in more or less apparent ways? This film has many of the trademarks of Don't Look Now - similar editing, similar effect, even a very similar sex scene. I might even go so far as to say that The Man Who Fell to Earth is the "sci-fi Don't Look Now". Which is obviously a perverse generalization, but you get the point. It's just as good, in any case.

(Rating: 8/10)

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