An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities changing dramatically after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.
A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
Seventeen year-old Rhoda Williams receives an acceptance letter from MIT and she celebrates with her friends. On the same night, a planet similar and close to Earth is discovered and called Earth 2. Rhoda drives her car looking at Earth 2 and crashes with composer John Burroughs, killing his pregnant wife and his baby son. Rhoda goes to prison and four years later she is released and moves to her parents' house. She finds a job as high-school janitor, but tries to commit suicide. She survives, however, and submits an essay to a contest where the prize is a ticket to travel to Earth 2. Meanwhile the scientists discover that Earth 2 is a mirror of Earth and the synchronicity between the dwellers was interrupted when the planets were seen by each other. One day, Rhoda decides to visit John Burroughs, whose life was destroyed after the death of his family, to admit to him that she had killed his family. However she does not have the nerve to tell him the truth. So she lies and tells him ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Filmed in and around New Haven, Connecticut - Mike Cahill's hometown. Cahill knew that by filming there he would be able to call on favors from family and friends, helping keep costs down. This is particularly true of the car crash that is an integral part of the film. One of Cahill's friends is a police officer who was able to shut down some roads to allow for filming. See more »
Around 1:12:00 after Rhoda and John toast there is a shot of the house from the outside with Earth 2 at "Full Earth" - the entire face is lit. A second later a shot from inside the house of Earth 2 through a window shows a partially-full Earth 2. Earth 2 is not close enough for the apparent angle to cause a phase shift of this magnitude; Earth 2 still would have been a Full Earth when shown from inside the house. See more »
I saw this image when I was a kid. The photograph of Jupiter taken by NASAs Voyager. Beautiful. But nothing special until shown in rapid succession. Suddenly Jupiter was alive. Breathing. I was hypnotized.
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Another Earth is a beauty to look at, but a task to watch and dissect. It compiles a number of shots that feel like a student photography project, and convinces the audience members to "suspend disbelief" so the film can go on its way. I can suspend disbelief for simple things like a second Earth appearing in the sky. I can't when it comes to simple movie-making terms.
This is director Mike Cahill's first feature film. He shot, edited, wrote, and was one of the four people who produced it and got it a limited theatrical release. I commend his efforts, but the direct result is fair at best. I will say that the photography is some of the best I've seen in any independent film. But readers know I can't just praise a film for having beautiful photography. It must back more under its belt.
The story is about Rhoda Williams (played by Brit Marling, who also wrote and produced the film), a woman bound for MIT and hopefully intriguing things in life. She is coming home from a party when she's had a few too many when she hears on the radio that there's a glowing blue dot in the night sky. That dot is rumored to be a second Earth. She looks out her window to catch a glimpse of it, and in the process, crashes her car into another car and kills a mother, a child, and leaves the father in a coma.
Four years pass. Rhoda is released from jail, and is now working as a school janitor. She wants to live life in a secluded manner, but feels the need to go to the father's house and apologize for the damage and distress she causes. She ultimately loses her nerve and says she's a housekeeper. Her and the man, John Burroughs (Mapother), start to become increasingly close, which leads to personal demon conflicts with Rhoda.
Oh, and that Earth-like planet that was in the sky? It now has a name. It's confirmed to be a second Earth, named Earth 2. We couldn't see it for so long because it was supposedly hiding behind the sun. The discovery of this planet is needless, and if extracted from the plot could leave a bunch of metaphors, the film feels like throwing at us, in the dust.
That's my biggest complaint; this film is unfocused metaphorically. It feels like instead of focusing on character development it wants to hold a contest for how many metaphors it can make. Literally almost everything in this film is done for an ambiguous purpose. Rhoda works as a janitor when she's released from prison (to clean up the mess, get it?). Earth 2 exists because on its planet there are supposedly doppelgangers of humans (to show the better side of people, get it?) It's almost like Another Earth is self-obsessed in the sense where it feels to get noticed it needs to make you think way too hard. It trades pacing for scenery, character development for metaphors, dialog for awkward, abrupt silences, and so on. When it comes to character development, there is a very small amount. Silence is golden in Another Earth, and far too often. There were quite a few scenes of silence in The Tree of Life, another nonlinear film I praised earlier this year. In The Tree of Life, what was going on was enough to keep me interested. The characters, especially Rhoda, use the silence to help them stare off into space. Maybe the start of another metaphor? But Another Earth does come equipped with perhaps one of the most surreal and stunning scenes this year in film. It involves a woman attempting to make contact with Earth 2 for the first time. The scene was gold and unsettling, and was executed in a way that has me at a loss for words.
Lots of color correction is clear from the post-production hell this probably caused. Some scenes involve a strange tint of blue that almost smothers the picture quality. Though the color enhancement can be intrusive sometimes, when it is applied to the sky and Earth 2 it is exquisite and inventive. Probably some of the sharpest I've seen for an independent film.
Another Earth is a severe independent film, but watching the trailer you probably wouldn't notice. When viewing the trailer, I expected it to break the box office. Not the case, obviously. I never saw or heard of it afterwards. Then I found out its budget and its release were minuscule. I was astounded. The trailer and the film are conducted almost in a limitless way. In the art direction field of course. The rest is on autopilot.
Starring: Brit Marling and William Mapother. Directed by: Mike Cahill.
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