For those of you who missed the first week, it goes like this: A writer picks a movie, everyone takes the weekend to watch it, everyone comes back on Monday to talk about it. Sound good?
Last week, Peter Hall brought you Altered States. This week, we'll be watching...
The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
Directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring David Bowie and Rip Torn.
What's it about?
Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is a genius and multimillionaire who appeared seemingly out of nowhere and made his fortune selling a wide variety of strange technology capable of revolutionizing the world. But Newton is not human. Newton is from an alien planet, a planet in desperate need of water if its inhabitants are going to survive. Newton plans to use his new-found wealth to build a new spaceship and return home to save his people, but he never counted on the human race. Love, greed, sex, business and the government stand in his way.
Why should I watch it?
David Bowie plays an alien. That really should be enough for you, but it's also incredible an incredible performance and proof that Bowie should have had a leading man's career instead of the supporting roles and cameos he's invariably gotten over the years. Newton gets put through the grinder during the course of this film and Bowie plays it with class, using his odd persona to the best of his abilities. You also get a young and naked Rip Torn. Actually, you get a lot of naked everybody. Torn. Bowie. A couple ladies. This movie is chock full of it.
It's also a science fiction film from Nicolas Roeg, that mad genius of a filmmaker behind underseen classics like Walkabout. In the same way that Roeg turned the horror genre on its ear with Don't Look Know, Roeg makes a hugely personal, very challenging science fiction film with no easy answers and nothing is spelled out for you. It's a movie that demands your attention. if you've yet to discover Roeg, this is your chance.
It's based on a seriously excellent novel by Walter Tevis, who also wrote the original novel of The Hustler. The book comes packed with the seriously excellent Criterion version of the film and is significantly different than the movie and worth your time. Oh, and the lead role was at one point going to be filled by Peter O'Toole. And then at another point, Michael Crichton!
So seek out the DVD or Blu-Ray, give it a watch and report back on Monday. We'll have a lot to talk about!
But first you can check out the hilariously edited and scored trailer!