Saturday, 6 August 2016


“You don’t know what’s out there,” he warns her. “That’s why I’d go,” she replies. ANOTHER EARTH (2011) is an artsy variant of Gerry Anderson’s classic home-grown sci-fi Doppelganger (aka: Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun, 1969). After a road accident kills a musician’s pregnant wife and their young son, the other car’s teenage driver Rhoda is convicted of negligence. Years later, she begins an affair with still grieving widower, John, a famous composer, eccentric enough to play the saw, but he has no idea who she is, at first... 

While SETI broadcast greetings to the new planet, and hope for first contact, everybody is baffled by this apparently cosmic reflection, growing ever larger in the sky, and UFOlogy nutters roam the streets with placards of impending doom. The genre debut of director Mike Cahill, who co-wrote the screenplay with lead actress Brit Marling (Sound Of My Voice), this is a low-budget indie about festering guilt with flailing attempts at redemption. It may be viewed as metaphysical philosophy and existential introspection or simply muddled up nonsense about dreams coming true from shattered lives, but, either way, it does tend to get a bit lost in its own headspace of tragedy.

Facing hard truths about the improbabilities of forgiveness, like Lars von Trier’s sometimes painfully beautiful Melancholia, it’s more interested and immersed in its characters and their respective melodramas than any science fictional aspects, with a preference for the symbolic instead of the confrontational, and many – perhaps too many – of its pivotal or dramatic scenes occur off–screen. Another Earth is like a mirror world for observers in need of enlightenment but its paranormally reflective surfaces are often impenetrably blacked out. The parallel planet just hangs above the clouds offering vague promises of second chances and a multiverse heaven away from home. Unfortunately, if viewed as serious SF, this never gets off the ground. 

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