Director: Nicolas Roeg
Cast: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
Spoilers Within: No
Originally posted 11th March 2016 on Letterboxd.
It’s hard to get my head around what I found so precisely uninteresting about Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, but I’ll give it a shot. It contains plenty of smart-edits, some beautifully oblique cinematography, and thunderous-yet-subtle sound design, yet all of these compounds were arranged in such a purposefully cryptic way that the film ended up being exhausting rather than engrossing.
Whether this relentlessly elliptical approach was deliberate in order to mimic the characteristics of Bowie’s mysterious outsider or as a result of editing-room meddling is unclear (as it the nature of the entire film), but what strength it does have doesn’t lie in the main character, but rather the intriguing narrative of a humanoid alien journeying to earth to get water for his dying planet. It’s beautifully simplistic, but again, this bareness is presented in such a way that it becomes a meandering, sluggish jumble that outstays its welcome long before the main characters’.