Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return ...
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Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft, and meets Mary-Lou, a girl who falls in love with him. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business here on Earth, however. Written by
Gene Volovich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The painting seen early on in the film is Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. It was long thought to be by Pieter Brueghel, but this has been questioned recently. In Greek mythology, Icarus succeeded in flying, with wings made by his father Daedalus, using feathers secured with wax. Ignoring his father's warnings, Icarus chose to fly too close to the sun, melting the wax, and fell into the sea and drowned. His legs can be seen in the water just below the ship. The sun, already half-set on the horizon, is a long way away; the flight did not reach anywhere near it. This, of course, is another metaphor for Newton's predicament, as Icarus falls into water too. A cruel irony given how little water there is on his own planet. See more »
The blanks that Newton and Mary-Lou fire at each other for fun, don't seem to have any effect. In reality, blanks can cause serious injury, especially when fired at such close range. (In the making of the film, they probably used a special theatre gun, which doesn't emit anything at all. Or the gun was unloaded and the sound and smoke were added later. Anyway, in the story, it's a real gun loaded with blanks.) See more »
I went into this film expecting something more like Walkabout, because that is all I had seen of Nicholas Roeg's work previously, and the thought of David Bowie being in it enticed me. Really, though, I had it backwards... It's David Bowie's creation with a little bit of Nicholas Roeg in it.
The whole "human alien" thing is very much Bowie's schtick, and to a degree I found it hard not to imagine that this was Bowie's entire idea of himself. A sort of silent tragedy encompasses his character, expressed mostly in the scene with the eye-test where Bowie says very smally and pathetically "Oh... now I'll never get them out." Bowie sees himself as an alien that just can't escape being human.
On a broader sense than this one artist's idea, however, this is a fascinating science fiction film because it points out a side of human nature not often developed very well in other science fiction films. Instead of dissecting the alien, which is what everyone always expects humans will do, the humans do everything in their power to make him more human. Where not actually working towards constructing this "other" as a human, they try to own him, via capitalism or politics or, yes, even love.
It's interesting then the space they put him in, with all of the various rooms like different human-empathetic places. On one hand, it's a self-reflective look at the "set" of the movie, showing that we are designing this alien to look human, but secondly a lot of it is surreally natural, as if to imply that even nature is forced to be human at our hands.
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