Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Today's Review: Another Earth

By the sound of Another Earth, I was expecting a pretty awesome sci-fi movie. What I got was slightly different.

Brit Marling stars as Rhoda, a young woman dedicated to spending her life studying the stars. One night while out driving she hears news on the radio of a new planet within visible range of Earth, but while she is distracted looking for it she crashes into another car, killing a woman and child and putting a man in hospital. Four years later she is released from prison, to find news that the other planet is in fact a mirror of Earth, and that one lucky person will be sent to see what life is like on Earth 2. In an attempt to apologise to the man whose life she ruined, former professor John Burroughs (William Mapother), Rhoda finds herself pretending to be a cleaner, and begins to see the effect that she has on the man's life. With Earth 2 looming in the sky, Rhoda can't help but wonder if things are different in her parallel life.

Another Earth isn't so much a sci-fi movie as it is a drama with an ever-present scientific backdrop. The main focus is on the relationship between Rhoda and John, with Earth 2 always looming in the sky, a possibility that if different choices were made then our lives can be different. But that's just the thing. It's all implied. There are brief mentions on news reports about the similarities, and at which point the two worlds' paths changed, but the big reveal or twist you're expecting doesn't really happen. Of course there are developments, and there is an ending, but it's all very ambiguous. While there are many different theories behind it that are very interesting, it would be nice to have perhaps a little more spelled out so that some kind of informed conclusion could be reached rather than guesswork.

Still, the leading couple are pretty damn good in their roles. I was so drawn in to the developing relationship between the two that I didn't mind so much about the lack of sci-fi elements throughout. It reminded me in a way of Melancholia, in the fact that the main focus was the study of how people act in different circumstances, with a foreboding extraterrestrial presence driving the story along and inspiring thought processes.

Another Earth is very much a film that makes you think. The characters are very well rounded and performed nicely, and there's enough ambiguity to promote some interesting theories about the events that unfold. But in that same respect it doesn't feel polished enough, I felt there was a lot more that could have been done with the sci-fi elements to really make this stand out, but it fell a little bit flat in the continuing focus on just the two main characters.

My rating: 3/5

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