22 Jul
A Sundance award-winning allegory of loss and redemption

Fox Searchlight’s Another Earth is directed by Mike Cahill and opens today, Friday July 22nd in Los Angeles and New York City, and on July 28th nationwide.

Madman Mundt
Another Earth
is the type of film where you have to get the premise out of the way immediately, as it requires a temporary suspension of disbelief that’s crucial to enjoying it. The backdrop shows the movie beginning with the announcement of the discovery of a mysterious planet at the edge of our solar system, one that could have Earth-like properties. Soon the film advances four years, and in that time this mysterious planet has made its way across space and looms large on the Earth’s sky. But what makes the planet even more special is that it’s exactly like Earth. As in, exactly like Earth: a mirror image, with the same landscape, same countries… even the same people — so it is called, quite imaginatively, Earth 2. While this sci-fi backdrop certainly has gaping plausibility holes, the reality is that the hard physics don’t matter. Another Earth is not a sci-fi action thriller, it is a parable. An at-times stunning story of redemption, regret, unfulfillment and loss. Could there ever be a planet exactly like Earth that travels the length of the cosmos to come to a rest right on our horizon? Of course not. Does it matter in the greater context of Another Earth? Not in the slightest.

The Elf
Never say never Mundt — maybe another Earth will actually come hover over our malls and deserts and Ikeas one day soon. Until then, we have this film to give us a little glimpse into just what that might be like. Eerie, awe-inspiring, terrifying, and beautiful. I have to say Another Earth is one of the toughest films I’ve ever reviewed. It’s complex and emotional, and it’s kind of a sci-fi romance. It’s tough to pin down, which is refreshing. The main character Rhoda, beautifully played by Brit Marling (who also co-wrote the script and produced), walks through life like a shell of the girl she once was after a terrible tragedy alters her life forever. Without giving too much away, Rhoda goes from being a brilliant, fun, optimistic MIT-bound teenager to a deeply disconnected twenty-two year old janitor at the local high school. During a barren, brutal, frozen Connecticut winter that mirrors Rhoda’s equally barren psyche, she winds up cleaning the house of John, a man who — unbeknownst to him — was directly involved in the tragedy that changed the course of her life, and his. They’re totally isolated and alone, but as she cleans his disaster of a house each week they embark on a delicate emotional dance that’s fascinating to watch.

Hit the Jump to continue reading our Screenshot Film Review of Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth”…


Madman Mundt
You know what I found totally unique about the movie? While watching it, I kept bouncing back and forth from thinking the movie was a very innovative, compelling indie to wondering where it was all going. Watching Rhoda’s indifference and pain, her wretched inability to forgive herself for her sins, is heartbreaking. And her feeble attempt at redemption is the driving force of the movie, played out in the relationship between her and John (played by Lost’s William Mapother). Their unique dynamic certainly created a weird tension I haven’t seen in a film before. But it wasn’t until the movie reveals itself that I was totally sold. And when that happens — which I don’t want to get too specific about — I was sold. Hard. When the movie hits its button and reveals itself for what it is, I was truly stunned — I think I actually shuddered.

The Elf
The movie does vacillate between feeling like an indie and feeling like a bigger studio film — and in this case that’s a positive. It’s a character study about larger, universal questions. It’s an intimate story about two people but it also gives you that sense of wonder you get as a little kid staring up at the night sky wondering things like, “What if there ARE other people out there?” My only issue with the film is that I felt like Rhoda’s parents and younger brother were non-characters and their performances felt awkward and off-putting, especially next to the amazing work Marling and Mapother were doing. Every scene involving her family took me out of the story just a tiny bit, but once director Mike Cahill brought us back to Rhoda and John it was easy to get sucked back into the mystery and emotions of the film. Another Earth is worth a trip to the theater — it’s surprising, unexpected, and fresh, and Marling’s performance is worth the price of a ticket. It’s the soul of the film.

Madman Mundt
I’d like to poke one more feather in the film’s cap: the music — it was astounding. It lurked in the background like a ghost when it had to, haunting the characters on screen. Then it could take over a scene with pulsing tension when it had to. It really elevated the film, and at times the aural emotion was stronger than the visual emotion. Other people have compared Another Earth to Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, and I can see the comparison — not only thematically, but the emphasis they put on the soundtrack. When I found out it was scored by Fall On Your Sword it all made sense. Featuring Philip Mossman — a founding member of LCD Soundsystem and co-composer of Oceans Eleven — and producer Will Bates, the band has to be commended for the 4th dimensional layer they added to a film who’s entire concept is pure allegory. In the end, while I had my doubts at times in the movie, I think Another Earth totally pays off. Its revelation adds a stunning consequence to everything that Rhoda suffered, and makes all the doubts worthwhile. I recommend it.

No Responses to “Another Earth: Screenshot Film Review”

  1. […] I Saw Jupiter”, which is taken from the Another Earth soundtrack (the film which we reviewed HERE). Featuring Philip Mossman, a founding member of LCD Soundsystem, Fall On Your Sword should most […]

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