The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

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The Man Who Fell to Earth Review

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 science fiction drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring David Bowie. It is an intriguing, but very uneven sci-fi movie.

It is about an alien who crash lands on Earth seeking a way to send water to his desert planet to help his family. But he gets involved with a woman and starts to lead a hedonistic life on Earth. I did like the story here. The plot itself is very good and thematically rich to some degree, but the execution is problematic. I liked the ending which is pretty unconventional, I also liked the opening very much and I really enjoyed the incorporation of both drama and science fiction elements. Those elements do work and are interesting, but this is mostly a drama and the one that is quite interesting to follow.

The characters are solid, but could have been better. Newton is really good and his alienation is so well established and definitely felt. Mary-Lou is also pretty good and I liked their relationship a lot as it has its warmer and later more bitter moments. It worked and the filmmakers dealt with it in a pretty good way. But the rest of the characters are pretty boring to be honest.

The acting is very good. David Bowie is excellent and although this was basically him being himself due to his problems at the time, it is still a performance and it benefits the picture a lot. He is quite good and this is his best performance, even better than his memorable role in ‘Labyrinth‘. Candy Clark is also pretty good and the two are great in their scenes together.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is very uneven. It is well directed by Nicolas Roeg and well acted, but it is very weirdly paced with some very slow scenes. The movie is certainly slow and moves at a sluggish pace. However, that was a good choice at times as I liked its laid-back approach with some scenes that felt more real in the process. The film is grounded in reality, but still not as detailed as I would have liked it. The dialogue is also pretty good, but it also should have been more sophisticated given the film’s nature.

It is unpredictable and very engaging at times and although the movie is slow, I still never found it boring. It is somewhat clever and the tone is well established as it has both dramatic as well as romantic moments. I liked the alien design and I loved the imagery in this movie. It is definitely too psychedelic, but the scenery on the desert planet in particular is very memorable and those sequences are present throughout the whole movie at just the right moments. It is well shot and made with the score being unexpectedly good and helping the film a lot as it contributes to its weird and even creepy feel. I wish that the whole film was more like that, but it focuses too much on drama instead of science fiction. The effects are excellent and the film is pretty imaginative and even original in some areas. I really disliked its tendency to go into drug and sexual territory, but that is unfortunately expected given the time period in which it was released. But I still found that annoying.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is very uneven, too sexual and at times slow, but it is still very original and imaginative with some intriguing imagery, a good performance from David Bowie, some very memorable scenes and a good, well crafted story.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1970s, 1976, Drama, MOVIE REVIEWS, SF and tagged , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. What song did you use on the YouTube video, who is the artist? I like it very much, but neither Shazam nor Soundhound recognizes it.

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