Another Earth – 2011

Last year I saw Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. While I cannot deny that it held some great performances and certainly some beautiful cinematography I found the film as a whole far too self-involved and slow to be truly engaging – it definitely slipped off the edge of enjoyable. However at that time somebody recommended to me Another Earth as “the lower budget but better version of Melancholia”. Intrigued, I finally found a copy of this film one year later.

another_earthCertainly the premise is similar. A planet slowly approaches earth, getting bigger and bigger in the sky and causing not a small amount of scientific curiosity and widespread panic. (Both films share a flagrant disregard of gravity and the knock on effects upon the earth’s orbit, which would most likely kill everyone on earth before our protagonists could even eat their morning bacon.) However this is where the similarities end.

What we have in Another Earth is a gem of the Indie-Sci-Fi-Psychological-Drama genre. While the cosmic events are a key plot device, the story is one of human nature and kindness beautifully realized by director and co-writer Mike Cahill. Leading actress and co-writer of this spectacle, Brit Marling brings Rhoda, our protagonist, to life with grace and sensitivity when the character could so easily have become whiny, unsympathetic and, in places, abhorrent.

The bold soundtrack (provided by Fall On Your Sword) lends pace to the slow, thoughtful film; the humming techno music becomes a reflection of the rising tensions between characters. The delicate naturalism of light and angle in the cinematography is counterbalanced by this electronic heartbeat underscoring the film.

All in all a pleasure to watch, elegant and sophisticated but with a lot more substance than you’d first expect.

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3 thoughts on “Another Earth – 2011

  1. G

    I loved this film. Brit Marling is an excellent yet strangly unknown actress/writer (her 2011 film Sound Of My Voice was a divisive but enjoyable film, if rather harrowing at times since it focused heavily on the dark inner workings of a cult), and the supporting cast also showed great talent: using real-life scientist Richard Berendzen as the narrator was inspired. The soundtrack was indeed brilliant, notably adding to the atmosphere of tension created by the actors but not so much that it became a distraction. I never watched Melancholia despite it being an experience I would probably enjoy, mainly due to my quite irrational dislike of Kirsten Dunst, though now I am reconsidering my decision. Another Earth was lent to me by a friend I had previously recommended Moon to; science-fiction psychological dramas are a criminally underrepresented genre, and it would be wonderful to see more films like this.

    -G

    Reply
    1. flomiles Post author

      I agree,I feel that sci-fi films often fall into the trap of ignoring the human experience in favour of a more action-packed film but there’s so much potential in the genre. I also haven’t seen Brit Marling’s previous film, looking forward to a day when i can find it now!

      Reply
      1. G

        You are absolutely right. Solaris and 2001: A Space Odyssey are two of my favourite films (hardly original, I apologise!), both of which fall within that genre. I enjoy good psychological films in any form, though I have a certain soft spot for science fiction since I have been reading sci-fi literature from a young age (Arthur C. Clarke is a particular favourite of mine).

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