Earthling
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Earthling

Some movies are meant to excite the audience, to provide a virtual roller coaster pushing you to the edge of your seat and intensifying your heartbeat. Typically these are the first movies that any cinephile will become interested in. Then as we grow older you are able to enjoy the type of movie that invites the audience to dissect it in by seeing mining for hidden meaning and sparking lengthy debates. Then there are those types of movies that are intended to be experienced. They serve as a showcase for the talents on both sides of the camera from eliciting emotional performances from the actors and allowing the director showcase is cinematic artistry. These proposed stages are not mutually exclusive you do not fully grow out of one into another. A well-rounded aficionado of cinema did find enjoyment in practically any type of film. One of my favorite examples third type mentioned above is an independent film, ‘Earthling’. I discovered it on one of my routine forages through listings of independent films initially came to enjoy it on a video on demand service but thankfully it is readily available on DVD. It is not unusual movies of this sort tend to be generally misunderstood which upsetting considering that many people tend to assign a preponderance of the decision to watch a movie based on critical aggregate rather than take a chance on watching a film solely because it looks as if it might be interesting. Having been a lifelong ardent fan of independent movies I have noticed many such movies escape general attention when they are so deserving of a wider audience than the received. This situation describes’ Earthling’ all too well. Over the years I have watched this film many times, not so much to try to gain a deeper understanding of the narrative because I have found with each viewing I become increasingly aware of nuances how the story flows, the very essence of the method of storytelling. Lamentably most of those breeding sites do not take into account a film which is obviously been crafted for its artistic expression and not its box office impact.

The film begins with a view of our planet that is only made possible towards the end of the last century. See the magnificent vista blue-and-white the curve of our planet clearly visible drifting into the frame is the international space station and moving ominously towards it is a spiky, black sphere. Members of the crew intently watched the viewports as the spinning sphere inexorably draws closer to them. As the object reaches the station crew contacts there mission control in the class the station has been compromised and is contaminated. They request quarantine but I refuse they also told not to evacuate station. The object enters the interior of the station crew reacts with a murderous rage against each other. One astronaut is holding the spear in his gloved hand is something happens to him his helmet apparently filling with liquid. Back on earth the incident is reported as a "mysterious atmospheric event". Only one of the astronauts, Sean (Matt Socia) survives and returns to earth remains in a coma.

We’re introduced to the main character; Judith (Rebecca Spence) while she is late in her pregnancy but missed cavities after an automobile accident leaving her not unexpectedly very withdrawn and depressed. She is a teacher at a local high school was trying her best to cope with a failing marriage. Inexplicably begins to have dreams of childhood memories and of Sean. Exacerbating the matter Rebecca begins to experience seizures and is quite concerned over the appearance of two bumps on either side of her forehead. A psychological stability deteriorates rapidly. Rebecca vision danger of losing her job because of unusual behavior brought on not only by the neurological symptoms but in pressing sense that something is not right, that something is very wrong and he centered on her. She gradually receives some clarity as she becomes involved with a new student, Abby (Amelia Turner). Abby is a part of a small group of people were affected in a similar way to Rebecca. He is unable to trust this new girl because she has a sense that information is being withheld from her that is vital to hopeful understanding of what is going on with her and the others.

Throughout this time Rebecca has noticed a man in a hat, Swinnert (Peter Greene) always seems to be close by watching her. Is not the only surveillance going on as Rebecca begins watching Abby from a distance. At one point she watches as Abby and her friend Donna (Kim Foster) having a joint out in the woods much to Donna’s surprise Abby leans over to kiss her. Although she is rebuffed they continue to get high. The film consists of many little moments such as this strung together type of visual tone poem you are pulled into the mood of the story rather than the narrative details. Another such example is the scene with William Katt as Ryan Donnelly Sean’s father who was extremely concerned over the same mysterious symptoms his son has exhibited once he came out of the coma. Jack Woodring (Bill Sebastian) who endeavors to get to the bottom of the symptoms through a series of cognitive tests and exercises designed to trigger the memories that are eluding Sean. I can understand how some might become frustrated as the film can come more as a jigsaw puzzle where it is taking too long to attach sufficient pieces to glean what the overall picture is. Eventually comes out that whatever that mysterious atmospheric event was rebooted something rebooted those delete affected. Somehow they began to remember the growing sense of the truth that they are indeed not really human but extraterrestrials sent to earth to blend in with the population. The cover was so well constructed that they are not even a rare of the true nature, until the strange experience of the sphere up in space. That sphere appeared because there mission is completed and it is time for them to return home, wherever that might be.

There is no contesting that this is a slowly paced movie that requires far more attention than usual to be able to pull together the narrative. One of the pervading themes does appear to be questioning our idea of self and the concept of belonging. As Rebecca became increasingly distant from her husband she is drawn into the influence of the small group of strangers who inextricably seem to be connected with each other, and more disturbingly, with her. This movie is the epitome of what independent film is about and why it is so necessary to maintain the expressive nature of cinema. It would be impossible for a mainstream studio to even consider relighting the production of this movie. This film was obviously made on a shoestring budget with minimalistic special effects. What truly impressed me was the dedication displayed by cast and crew. Some the second unit photography interspersed between the main scenes mainly depicted shots of the environment unlike most of the film the colors are muted and frequently darkened by nightfall. The entire impact of this film is to elicit emotional states within the audience. One of the most touching instances of this towards the end everything is falling apart and Abby in desperation comes to visit Rebecca two women on or near a psychological point of collapse as Abby falls into Rebecca’s arms. We next see the two of them taking a bath together is told each other for comfort, a desperate need for solace is everything that thought he knew about the world and their own nature has begun to evaporate. The movie was written and directed by Clay Liford has spent most of his career as a cinematographer for short films including one of the segments in the horror anthology movie ‘ABCs of Death 2’. Much of this experience has been in the horror genre is undoubtedly the reason why this story does retain an undertone of the classic horror mystery. There’s a haunting quality about this movie that will stay with you long after the final credits roll by. If you’re looking for something that is solidly visually interesting and open-minded sufficiently undertake experiencing an opus with an undertone of experimental cinema this is something that you must add your collection. This is also a filmmaker to keep an eye on it has a true gift for providing a compelling story that is related largely through nonverbal means of communication. The film is visually intriguing and demands your full attention while watching.

Posted 04/01/2016

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