Friday, August 15, 2014


This US micro-indie from 2011 helped launch the career of indie dreamgirl, screenwriter and producer Brit Marling. I keep seeing that she gets typecast in some pretty weird sci-roles roles as a cult leader or astro dreamer, and that's great; she's got decent acting chops and plays "oddball" quite well, in spite of her off-the-charts looks. Yet "Another Earth" trips up just as often as it succeeds. It's about a young woman on the verge of starting her first year at MIT (Marling's "Rhoda") who gets drunk and plows into a family of three while she's intently observing the newly-discoved phenomena of a "second Earth" – outside her car window, while driving. We then flash-forward four years later, as she's getting out of prison, and Earth 1 is still no closer to having made contact with "Earth 2", despite the latter (and its moon) now looming over our earth like Lars Von Trier's collision-course planets in "Melancholia".

There are some fantastic sci-fi elements to this one, and enough eerie close-ups and disjointed speechifying from off-camera scientists about the nature of Earth 2 (over droning synth music, no less) that really hints at how mind-blowing this could have been – and actually is, in parts. Yet there are so many cinematic cliches in this one that I found myself straining to finish the film. What happens when the going gets rough with her new boyfriend, who happens to be the surviving father in the family of three she hit four years ago? Of course, she dramatically pukes in the toilet, just like everyone does in movies for some reason. Oops – she's not supposed to be poking around his house, but there's his son's picture, right where she could guiltily come across it, and yep, he just happens to be standing nearby right when she finds it. Whew, that was a close one. That never happens in film! Oh, and sex is so wildly passionate and hot sometimes that you just want to get down to it on a coffee table with your shirt on, while the dude keeps all of his clothes on while wildly humping you in a hot frenzy, after a big 15 seconds of delicious foreplay. Man, I can't even count the times.

Perhaps you'll distract yourself something batty trying to remember where you've seen the male lead, William Mapother before. He was Ethan from "Lost"! Remember that guy? I guess I do – but his face, if not his acting ability, is instantly memorable. Of course in his grieving, slovenly, late 40s, alcoholic state he'd have no problem seducing the most beautiful 21-year-old on the planet. So yeah - "Another Earth" has some holes as big as the craters on Jupiter's moon, and yet has enough redeeming qualities to not be a total washout. I just regret not seeing the film this might have otherwise been without the ham-handed swipes from the last forty years of mainstream flicks.