Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Another Earth" (2011) - Movie Review

It is a fascinating experiment to learn about the basics of emotions and consequences through the result of science fiction than the actual phenomenon itself. “Another Earth” a low key indie flick rides on this philosophy comes out more as a good exercise than a mind blowing experience. And it is always heart warming to see a film underplay the bigger phenomenon to focus on the ground level reality. Every one carries on with their life in goodness, routine and remorse despite larger things happening around them. When I read a news about the discovery of a far and light years away planet having the possibility of life a form, it intrigued me as expected but I immediately moved on to read the following news. Life as such goes on until it knocks on your door and kicks for your attention.

“Another Earth” carries this personality throughout the film and keeps the dramatization of this new thing on the sky to a simple basis. As Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) is celebrating her acceptance into MIT there is a new planet on the sky, very similar to Earth. She drives intoxicated and staring at this phenomenon on the sky while driving does not help either. She causes a terrible tragedy of killing a family leaving the man alive. She serves four years in prison as this new Earth on the sky becomes bigger and bigger as scientists are making desperate attempt to make contact. She comes out of the prison and obviously ridden with guilt decides to work as a Janitor than pursue her dream education.

The surviving man is John Burroughs (William Mapother). A professor in music is now struck with depression. Rhoda walks to his house to confess and beg for forgiveness only to turn around say she is working in a maid service and ends up cleaning his distraught house. You see she was a minor when she caused the accident leaving her name unknown to him. But I wonder he would recognize through the booze and consistent depression that haunts him.Slowly these two begin to develop an odd form of bond.

What I have noticed in recent days is the power of being among people. There is a force we feed off each other regardless of the spoken communication we make. There is something to the nature of being social. This unexplained but obvious formula of comfort, joy and existential satisfaction tells about us. While the desire being acknowledged of the existence is one thing and us being the approval addicts is another thing I do though strongly suspect there is more to it than those. Sometimes you do not need even need to make complete conversation to get this benefit. John and Rhoda begin to get that. He invites a routine into his life which has long gone.

Rhoda also enrolls in a competition wherein a unique company offers a civilian the first ride to the Earth 2. Her childhood fascination towards astronomy might be the driving factor but there is more to it. This is a rare chance to escape the world she has failed in. There is another world similar to this. There is a revelation that makes this new Earth even more interesting than its existence. We learn that everything that happened in Earth happened out there. In short terms, the Earth 2 is photocopy of our Earth including the people living in it and the things that happened to them. That puts a new twist on things. Did Rhoda commit the same blunder out there as well ruining the family of Burroughs? If not, is there a chance of redemption out here? How do you define redemption in this scenario?

“Another Earth” fundamentally has several logic flaws once we get into the real concept of science and laws but director Mike Cahill is not interested in that. It is purely a plot driver, a really good one to put us in thinking of this scenario. Brit Marling co-wrote the screenplay with Cahill and here we see a strong promise for a sensible emotional writers. Both of them are keen on the external factors that are beyond one’s control dictating the possibility for better life on these people. The film moves at an expected slower pace. It does not have a strong dialogue except for the one where Rhoda explains to John on how a cosmonaut turned an irritating noise in space into something beyond peace. Apart from that, “Another Earth” is too aware of its indie nature and that plays against it. Nevertheless it is a much more sensible film and the simple questions John evokes are marks of a promising writer(s) and director(s).

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