A psychiatrist, living in Vienna, enters a torrid relationship with a married woman. When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, an inspector becomes set on discovering the demise of their affair.
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 Man Who Fell To Earth is ultimately a frustrating film. The phrase 'the sum of its parts is greater than the whole' definitely applies. At times it's brilliant and original, but it's effectively brought down by its overlong running time and relentlessly obtuse presentation. It begins very promisingly but falls away in the final third, where it just loses focus and direction. Visually, as can be expected from Nicolas Roeg, it's often quite excellent, with his usual bold editing techniques in place too. The cinematography is very good and David Bowie certainly looks the part. Roeg certainly had a thing for using singers in lead roles. He also utilized Mick Jagger in Performance and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing, and Bowie like those other two is used to good effect. He doesn't really need to act very much; Bowie in the mid 70's was an almost alien-like creature to begin with. I thought Candy Clark was very good as Mary-Lou. She brought some warmth to the proceedings which was appreciated.
Like Roeg's work in general, there is hardly any humour here. He was primarily a visionary auteur and The Man Who Fell To Earth is undoubtedly a work that allows him to express himself in a highly personal way. But unlike in Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now and even Bad Timing the technique never seemed to achieve an overall whole. My feeling is that I would need to re-watch this movie in order to develop a better appreciation of it. On first impressions, it's a collection of great moments within an impenetrable whole. A very strange film though.
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