Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Man Who Fell To Earth: Special Edition DVD Review

Written By Peter Mayersberg based on the novel by Walter Tevis
Directed By Nicolas Roeg

Genre
Science Fiction, Drama

Cast

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton
Buck Henry as Oliver Farnsworth
Rip Torn as Nathan Bryce
Candy Clark as Mary-Lou
Tony Mascia as Arthur
Rick Riccardo as Trevor
Bernie Casey as Mr. Peters

Certificate 18



Synopsis

Who is Newton?

After arriving in a remote Kentucky town, Newton has soon hired a man to help him build an industrial empire using his advanced technological knowledge.

Soon he beats all the competition in to submission and is hailed as a business genius but little is known about the man himself.

Initially his noble cause is to save his dying home planet from drought but as he falls prey to alcohol, drugs and lust, his fall from grace becomes all the more apparent.

Special Features
  • New and Exclusive Interview With Nicholas Roeg
  • Watching the Alien Featurette
  • Interview With Peter Mayersberg
  • TV Spots
  • DVD-Rom Content
  • Trailers

Review

After sitting down to finally watch this movie, I'm still not really sure what to make of it in the slightest.

On one hand you obviously have a cult classic that gives a rather caustic look at the shallow nature of society and at times, the cult of celebrity.

Yet on the other hand, you have a quite convoluted and at times confusing movie that degenerates in to quite a mess at times.

That said, it's not an awful movie by any means and there is a lot of positives to recommend it to science fiction fans out there.

The first of these is the startlingly haunting performance by David Bowie.  He summed it up best when he said that he was literally falling apart and was high on cocaine at the time of filming.  To be honest, that shows here.  Newton is quite literally falling apart at the seams and Bowie portrays this brilliantly.  Even at his worst, you still feel a great deal of sympathy for the character.  I can't think of any other way to describe Bowie's performance other than mesmerising.

The fact that Bowie's performance is so amazing is both a strength and a weakness of the movie.  The rest of the cast, who try every hard with the sometimes clunky dialogue, just can't match up to his performance at all.

Another one of it's strengths that manages to also be a weakness is it's sheer surreal nature.  The direction and writing really makes it hard  to follow at times.  Every now and then that leads to the story coming across as a rather jumbled mess and at other times, comes across as serene and beautiful.

The best part of this two disc special edition of the movie are the special features.  There are some great gems of information here and, in all honesty, is an absolute treasure trove for a science fiction fan such as myself.

While I did enjoy parts of the movie, there were quite a few moments that positively left me confused and wondering just what the hell I was actually watching.  The best way I  can describe this movie is that you will either absolutely love it or hate it, while the rest of us are merely bemused by the majority of what goes on.

If I'm totally honest, if it wasn't for the sheer strength of Bowie's performance then I probably would have given up on the movie halfway through.

Movie 3/5
Picture 3.5/5
Sound 3.5/5
Special Features 4.5/5
Overall 14.5/20

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