Another Earth

18 Apr

Director: Mike Cahill

Writers: Brit Marling, Mike Cahill

Stars: Brit Marling, William Mapother and Matthew-Lee Erlbach

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 92 minutes




We are entering a period of post-modern science fiction. That accounts for this film Another Earth following so quickly on the heels of Melancholia and Moon before that. New or re-packaged film genres emerge for different reasons, but typically the reasons reflect the macro economics and geo politics of our times. So it is feasible that our recent collective loss of faith in politicians, bankers and the police is pushing modern film makers towards a new form of sci-fi.

This film, like Melancholia and Moon, is difficult to characterize and to adequately describe. ’Post-modern science fiction’ is halfway there, and certainly covers the other planet storyline, but this is also a dark tale about living with guilt and striving for second chances. The central character Rhoda (played extremely well by Brit Marling) causes a tragic road accident, spends time in prison and then emerges to try to salvage her life and to make amends to the victim (a widower called John played by William Mapother). Most of the film focuses on Rhoda slowly bringing John out from his booze and prescription drug induced isolation. Their awkward relationship develops whilst a planet seemingly identical to earth enters our orbit and dominates the sky.

This is a first film for the director Mike Cahill and it has flaws that can be attributed to inexperience. Whilst the sparse dialogue and slow indie pacing mostly work, this film drags at times. It can also be too earnest with the grainy documentary style filming giving it an unintended amateurish feel at other times. However, it is certainly different and it is interesting.  Also, it is atmospheric and the music and cinematography are both excellent. This film makes you think which is not to be under-valued with so much bland cinematic fodder served up these days.

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