If it's crap ... We'll tell you
It's been a bit of a more busy two days with movie rentals, mostly from my brother renting out two that I had skipped over. The Bank Holiday Monday gave the perfect opportunity to check them out, and one at least went quite a bit beyond my expectations. The other, well.... I'd known of that one since the Spill reviews.
But first, to Another Earth, by relative newcomer Mike Cahill and starring Brit Marling as Rhoda. She plays a young and aspiring teenager, just out of high school and with a bright future ahead of her. However, one night driving home after a party, she sees what appears to be a second Earth in the night sky, and the next thing she realises; she has crashed into a second car. The son and wife of the man are killed, and he if left in a coma while Rhoda spends two years in prison.
The world she re-enters two years later is completely different - her future prospects have been smashed and torn down, she struggles to live with her guilt and remorse over the crash, and all the while the "Earth Two" is in the sky, baffling scientists and the public alike. The movie thus follows her adjustment to this new world and the wonders it may bring, and an unexpected meeting with the man from the car accident.
The set-up is for a very interesting Fantasy / Drama, with a very heavy artistic feel to it all. The scenes have a blue and saturated tone to them, and it looks great on screen. Just from visuals, it really does leave an impression, while still holding a rather gritty look to it at times. Brit Marling is fantastic here as well, covering the wide and divers emotional range with ease, and at many points making you feel pity for her current situation. The Fantasy arc with the second Earth is fascinating, it plays more of a visual role in the movie than anything else, but is chilling the more you hear about it, and the more it comes in to the "First World’s orbit. The cinematography is top-notch and a feast for the eyes at points, the pace is well laid out, and it gives a very satisfying ending too in terms of Rhoda's self-redemption. I'll give this a straight up Full Price; it's a shame that it hasn't been given as much attention as it should, because it's well worth checking out.
And now we turn to Contagion, yet another 2011 release, which follows the outbreak of an unknown and aggressive virus from Honk Kong throughout the world. Except for the extensive actor list, that's all there really is to this film, except that it looks on the situation in a more technical level. It wants you to believe that what they're saying can be backed up, and can actually happen.
And yet..... they make the virus so contagious it's almost laughable. Despite all the technical terms, they make it as if touching a surface can cause infection, and a cough is the sign of imminent death. I'm sorry guys, but that doesn't float even in a Hollywood setting. Outside of that, the story is very slow and bland, there are not many shocking scenes to speak of, and it shies away from evoking any real sense of threat. This is mostly from the fact that there's too many characters to follow, with none of the stories feeling all that interesting, or even relevant. They kind of tie together, but it's a long time before that becomes even mildly apparent.
I did however, like some of the look to the film, if felt like it was put together professionally and did use some impressive sets. Some points of the story do have a stronger sense of believability, though they don’t last very long. I thought Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne gave good performances, and had the plotlines that I was most interested in. But sadly, too many chefs spoiled this broth, and it just came across as being a bit bloated, and the feel of the film? Too clean and sterile.
At the end of the day, there were a few things that kept me interested, but not enough to keep me invested. The whole premise feels very weak despite the heavy medical references, and the ending is a very poor pay off after sitting through the whole film. I can only give this a Rental, some people might find something in here to latch onto and enjoy, but it should have been put together a lot better than it eventually was.
Thanks for reading! ^__^