Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Another Earth

Lowdown: A woman deals with her killing a boy and ruining a family through an accident that took place just as an earth like planet showed up in the sky.
Rhoda is a young woman with great prospects ahead of her: her path into an MIT astronomy degree is already paved. Such success can get to one’s head, though; and as Rhoda hears the news of an earth like planet showing up to the naked eye in our sky, she keeps her focus on it. Problem is, she does it while driving. She ends up ramming into a family car, killing the boy and his pregnant mother.
Turn the clock four years later, and Rhoda is released from jail but still feels and acts guilty as hell. MIT is the last thing on her mind; if anything, she is disgusted with her life and seeks redemption through pain and suffering. An opportunity to redeem herself pops into her mind when she sees the broken father at the place of the accident during its anniversary. Through lies, she enters the father’s life. Something develops, but can it really go anywhere? All the while, that earth like planet is getting closer and closer to our earth, grabbing people’s attention as everyone is curious to know what this other earth’s story is.
While Another Earth has some rough edges about it, I thoroughly liked it. I guess the main reason is the utterly convincing portrayal of Rhoda: actress Brit Marling managed to truly make me fill in her character’s shoes, wondering how I would cope with the lives of others on my hands. Reminding me how close I was to being in Rhoda’s position and what I would have done if things turned out the wrong way. It is rare for films to take me so far into their depths, but Another Earth really made me ask myself what would have happened if I was to live on another earth in which B happened instead of A.
Another Earth is also a proud member of a genre that’s at the very top of my cinematic preferences: the subtle science fiction story. Not the one with aliens and space ships, but rather one where just a tiny bit of reality is fantastically altered to make us reconsider particular aspects of our lives as we know them today. Another Earth sure plays the subtlety card in its application of science fiction spicing; I won’t discuss it for fear of bloopers, but I consider it very well applied.
The application of the sci-fi spice makes the whole experience that is Another Planet stand out even further. Another Earth stands out because while it is obviously an American film, it smells very indie in nature: there are no familiar faces in its cast, no flashy special effects, and one person (Mike Cahill) is in charge of direction, production, cinematography and editing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did the catering, too. The main point, though, is that Another Earth stands out from your average American film: where flashy mediocrity is the name of the game with the bulk of Hollywood’s exports, Another Earth is the exact opposite. And thank the gods and the goddesses for that!
Worst scene #1: There are several scenes in Another Earth that just cry out for nudity, like the scene where a naked Rodha lies down on a sheet of ice. Yet Another Earth does that usual American cinema trick of using all sorts of weird camera angles to avoid a forbidden limb from popping up on our screens. It is as if the film is trying its best to remind us that as indie as it is, Another Earth is still an American film.
Worst scene #2: Why do stories such as Another Earth’s have to always culminate in a sex scene? (No nudity, though.)
Overall: Bring me more films like Another Earth and my faith in the potential of American cinema might be restored. For now, I will grant this film 4 out of 5 stars and warmly recommend it.

No comments: