Jan 16, 2011

The Man from Earth (2007): Movie Review

A Still from the movie
This one is an utterly cerebral affair. That Jerome Bixby let three decades pass between conceiving and completing the screenplay for this piece-of-art is altogether condonable. A 'remarkable cinematic accomplishment by a team of unremarkable people' has been the long-n-short of this films' post-release existence.

Released largely on the Internet and spread through p2p networks, it was the ordinary internetizens who proliferated the web with copious offerings of positive reviews which abetted the movie's emergence on the horizons of popular imagination.  The juggernaut still continues to roll as the movie has maintained its upward climb on all major ranking directories. 

Of the movie itself. The substance of the plot is a longdrawn, often back-and-forth, resolution of the protagonist's outrageous claim, to his friends over drinks, of being a cro-magnon man who has sustained an animate existence on earth for 14000 years (and evaded biological ripening for the entire duration)!! In the course of discussions between the protagonist and his friends, touched upon, often didactically, are such diverse domains of knowledge such as anthropology, biology, archeology, technology, history, culture and religion. The narrative structure is neat, linear and unfolds in cognition by argument rather than in temporality by events. To the indulgent-participative viewer, the crescendo of the story would feel akin to a precipitous change in the state-of-consciousness as, one by one, all the arguments and counter-arguments flow into the narrative and inter-weave to corrosively overcome the disbelief that was securely established at the beginning. 

Slowly, with punctuated reassurances and frequent regressions, taking the viewer from a state of complete staid a priori unbelief in the protagonists' claim and putting him, by the end of it, in a mind-numbing position where any further denial is rationally impossible but accepting any of it is inevitably mindf**king  - a state of immense cognitive arousal - is the genius of this film and also the biggest reason for its captivating pull. All of it transpires in the undistracting enclosures of a drawing room in a house where the protagonist and his friends have gathered for his farewell as he is to leave town permanently, something he claims to do every ten years lest his supernaturality become ostentatious and a subject of unsolicited social curiosity.    

There is'nt much need to discern the merit of individual performances and other filmic specifics as the movie is powered solely (and over-sufficiently) by the ingenious idea embodied cogently in the screenplay and, as such, could have been just as good even with an amateur cast. An absolute must watch once-in-a-decade kind of film. Pure brilliance.
The Theatrical Trailer

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