Another Earth

Art & Culture

It seems uncanny that at the exact moment that this film is released in the UK, a new planet is located which could be a mirror image of our own. I know that publicity departments are resourceful, but that is mightily impressive. Sadly, it's about as interesting as the film gets.

Which is a shame, because I went in thinking that it sounded like something special, if handled right. And indeed, the premise is potentially intriguing. A new planet is spotted in the night sky, which is coming closer, and which – it turns out – is an exact replica of our own, with identical people aboard. What are the implications for life on earth? Will everyone meet their doppelganger?

Unfortunately, the vehicle in which this scifi story occurs is something less than a limousine. A young woman is driving along the road one night after a few drinks, and is gazing out of the window at this new planet. Correction, she's got her head outside the car, looking up into the night sky, making it impossible for her to see where she's going. And therefore when she comes across a car parked in the road (and it might as well have a sign on it saying 'hit me'), she does indeed run into the back of it, thereby ruining several lives at once, and ending two of them. The survivors are her (and she goes to prison) and the driver (who loses wife and child) whose prison is emotional. These first scenes are the ones where I stopped believing in the film. The whole opening was so badly handled that I lost faith in the director.

When she comes out of prison, the young woman (a bit like Darryl Hannah, but even gloopier) goes to see the husband to apologise, but chickens out and offers to clean for him for nothing. She cleans, she comes back, she cleans some more, they begin to talk and – perhaps you can see where this might end up. Oh yes, and there's a competition for one person to take a spaceship to the new planet, and I wonder who's going to win that?

If I'm being cruel, it's because the film deserves some harshness. Writer/director Mike Cahill has the seeds of an interesting idea, but has neither the wit nor the skill to translate it into something credible and original. The acting is not up to scratch, the settings are obviously low budget, and the overall impression is of a film that needs a lot more work before it's ready to hit the screen.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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'Another Earth' plays the Rio Cinema in Dalston from this Friday (16th.) To book tickets and for further listings check their site here.