Monday 20th December 2011
GOSH, is that the time? So much for an early night… and I haven’t fully defrosted the fridge yet. Anyone who’ll be clock-watching tomorrow and would happily lose an hour, please get in touch and I’ll take it off your hands.
What do you think? Any mileage – or, perhaps, timeage – in the idea? Or would I be plagiarising In Time, the new blockbuster? I’ve watched the trailer, but can’t see myself going as far as the cinema for it: no way will it ever outrun Logan’s Run.
However, on finishing this (and the fridge) I’m going to settle down for the last half hour of Another Earth: a compelling film that just might produce the satisfying ending it has hinted at… and if my reading of Sophocles, Bunyan and Camus has taught me anything.
Science fiction drama inhabits a more intimate universe than those depicted in the adventure stories of Star Wars, Star Trek, or Avatar. Indeed, many of the genre’s classics don’t even bother leaving our own planet: The Incredible Shrinking Man, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, all notable examples.
What those three also have in common is an absence not of escapism, but of escaping.
Obviously the viewer can become as immersed in the imagined world as much as s/he might when watching a fine historical drama – The Bridge on the River Kwai, say, or Chariots of Fire – but there is to be no happy ending. The central characters don’t discover a miracle cure or defeat the monsters. What matters is the journey, not the destination. Please let it be so this time too.
A strength of Another Earth (so far) has been its pace. Because there is no Terminator in relentless pursuit, neither story nor viewer are pressed for time. And the dialogue is sparse. I like films of few words.
Meanwhile, the parallel planet and its moon linger, in the corner of the eye, simultaneously offering both hope and threat, like a beckoning mirror… or the drip-drip-drip of a neglected refrigerator.
Both have waited long enough. I’m out of here.