15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TERRIFIC MOVIE...BARGAIN BASEMENT QUALITY DVD...,
This review is from: Man Who Fell to Earth (DVD)
I first saw this film when it was released in the mid nineteen seventies. I recalled how much I had enjoyed it, when I saw that it was available in DVD. The DVD itself is disappointing, as it offers virtually none of the features one has come to expect from a DVD. Moreover, the exterior packaging itself gives inaccurate information, as the movie became a "70s cult classic" not an "80s" one. I only wish that Criterion Studios would select this film as one for their collection, as I they always release beautiful copies of the films that they choose.
This aside, the film itself, though somewhat abstract, is terrific, as it is not just a science fiction film with a twist. It is a film that explores themes that are timeless: desolation, alienation (no pun intended), and loneliness. At times, these themes are palpable, due to David Bowie's wondrously androgynous performance which is heartbreakingly moving at times.
The plot is fairly simple. An alien, Davie Bowie, leaves his family on his dying and arid planet in search for water. He lands on earth and begins his project to send water to his devasted planet by amassing the wealth that he needs to do this. He patents numerous lucrative inventions which eventually find him at the head of a world wide conglomerate. He joins up with a kindly, though stupid and vapid woman who drinks gin like a fish, Candy Clark, with whom he begins a liaison of sorts. Yet, he is always lonely and melancholic, and like her, begins to spiral into an alcoholic haze, sometimes sidetracking him from his purpose here.
At some point, excruciatingly sad and lonely, longing for his family, he reveals himself to her for who he truly is, shedding his earthly appearance, only to be met with absolute horror and repugnance by her at the sight of him. She ultimately tries to understand him, but it is truly beyond her ken. He is infinitely sad at this and longs all the more for home.
On the threshhold of returning to his planet and loved ones, he is kidnapped by corporate raiders who take over his holdings, and it is here that the movie begins to disintergrate somewhat. Yet, it remains strangely hypnotic and compelling, and becomes a sort of "Lost Weekend" of betrayal, booze, and promises which will never be kept. A parable of wanting to belong, yet knowing that you truly never will. A story about wanting to go home, but knowing on some level that you truly can never go home again.