An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.
- Self (Commander of Apollo 13)as Self (Commander of Apollo 13)
- (as Captain James Lovell)
Anyway David Bowie here plays a part which seemed to haunt him for years to come, in the aftermath of the film alone, he used images from the movie for two of his album covers, a 12-inch single sleeve while it also seems to inspire tracks on his "Station To Station", "Low" and "Scary Monsters" albums not to mention the famous "Ashes To Ashes" video. Bowie was at an artistic peak musically although off stage he was hopelessly hooked on cocaine, in fact just watch the contemporary BBC Arena documentary on him, "Cracked Actor" and he looks here as if he's just walked on-set from there. So can he act then...?
Well if there was one part he was born to play, it was this one, the alien misfit who conquers the world, but to be honest, while he certainly has a presence, you wouldn't say he was extended much. Looks great though.
The film stop-starts its way on his space invader odyssey, as he leaves his family life on Mars (or wherever it is) to start inventing items which quickly become society's new fashion must-haves. He picks up, (or rather she does him) an adoring if simplistic hotel chambermaid and garners a back-up team to make him a vast fortune, his target being to amass enough funds to build a spaceship to take him back home. But something happens on his way to heaven as unsurprisingly, he's abducted by government officials, where he's subjected to excruciating tests which wouldn't be out of place in an animal cruelty lab. Resistance however is futile and the mysterious Mr Newton by the end is a washed-up drunk, still resigning himself to his earth bound fate. In one of the film's most telling lines, he forgives his captor-torturer, as he admits his own race would gave treated a visiting earthling in the exact same way.
There's solid back-up to Bowie's central role with a variety of convincingly portrayed stock characters. Roeg pushes the permissive button pretty far here with more than a smattering of nudity in the sex scenes, not ignoring the fact that males frequently get naked too when being intimate.
I would still say there were too many scenes which for me played like Bowie's own cut-up method for lyrics at around this time, by which I mean I found them puzzling, strange and unconnected. And why no Bowie soundtrack?
Still, an interesting if confounding movie, as strangely addictive in its way as television is to Newton.
- Jan 25, 2017