Another Earth reviewed
There is something interesting going on with science fiction film lately, as it is widely used as a vehicle to tell stories about profoundly earthly concerns. With Scifi drama Love, a very traditional breed of epos and heroism has been reintroduced to film, and strangely enough, the combination of classical and visionary elements worked out well. And while Cloud Atlas was the more successful dramatic Scifi blockbuster, the critics didn't love it as much as they did Love.
The interesting edge Indie drama Another Earth offers, is that the science fiction elements appear to be altogether accessory - at first.
Another earth-like planet is discovered the same day astrophysics freshman Rhoda drives under the influence and crashes her car into another. A mother and son get killed, while the husband and father barely survives the collision. Rhoda goes to prison, and after four years she comes back into the world, disillusioned about life, hopeless, and desperately trying to make amends for her mistake. She applies for a lowly cleaning job at a local school, as well as the space program to travel to the new planet, Earth 2.
(Yes, that's the most uninspired name ever since Don't Worry We'll Think of a Title came out, I agree).
She also learns that the lone survivor of the car crash lives close-by, so one day, she decides to pay him a visit...
What happens in the following is a human drama about guilt, redemption and the impossible quest for forgiveness. The film is beautifully allegoric in the way it exemplifies the grand scale, the cosmic events as opposed to the main plot. Lead actress Brit Marling pours her soul into this role, it's palpable in every single frame she's in; plus she also co-wrote the script with director Mike Cahill, who made his debut with this feature film.
While Lars von Trier's Melancholia, coming from a similar angle did the far better job utilizing the scientific aspects of world collision in nagging accuracy, Another Earth has the more intriguing plot and distinct character motivation in its pocket, and is even more capable to let those worlds collide on a emotional level.
And on top of that, there is a really surprising twist in the last few moments of the film, having to do with the premise; a thought-provoking turn that makes you think, yes, of course, why didn't I think of that?
It's a good one. Go see it.