Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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81 Degrees

It was 81 degrees in the Bahamas today. I expect it will be a comparable temperature tomorrow. There is nothing quite as wonderful as sipping fruity frozen drinks in such a location. This is what I will be doing tomorrow. Happily.

Yes, tomorrow I will be in the Bahamas. I must go home and pack!

While looking over the previous entry for today, I was shocked to notice the omission of The Man Who Fell to Earth, which was Nicholas Roeg's science fiction entry. A very bleak but honest film, I found, with excellent performances from the principles (a perfectly cast David Bowie, Rip Torn, Buck Henry and Candy Clark). Because this is Nicholas Roeg, the film delves into many aspects of the characters' lives, including, in several very graphic (and sometimes unsettling) scenes, their sexuality. Bowie's home planet (which is dying of drought) is effectively referenced with some visually arresting sequences.


It is in the ultimate failure of Bowie's goal, however, that the film's true value is found. It paints the picture of a man(?) with a seemingly insurmountable task who comes close to achieving it... but ultimately fails, partly due to his own distractions (in the form of Candy Clark), partly because of the interference of the human governments (personified by a tough Bernie Casey; medical experiments eventually leave him blind), but mostly because of his own descent into alcoholism.

As with Walkabout, Roeg's direction takes him through the deepest parts of his character's souls, unflinchingly looking at them, flaws and all. The camerawork is by Anthony B. Richmond, and the Panavision framing is essential with as visually-oriented a filmmaker as Roeg. Unfortunately, if there is one area where the film is off-base, it is in the music. Not the exotic percussive sounds that Stomu Yamash'ta came up with (his work here is not like his work with John Williams for Images) for the alien sequences, but rather in the limp rock score by John Phillips. While I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a rock score for this film, Phillips can't seem to decide whether he wants to go disco or Pink Floyd with this score, and the juxtaposition is sometimes out-of-synch with the carefully modulated visual aesthetic of the film.

Overall, however, I found this to be a refreshingly different approach to the science-fiction genre.
Tags: cinema, reviews

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