No escape, this time

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.

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3 Responses to No escape, this time

  1. The Road is one of my favourite books. Interestingly, the director of Terminator:Salvation requested that all of the cast and crew read The Road in order to get a feel for the post-apocalyptic scenario the film was set it. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t anything special, but I did enjoy the film adaptation of The Road, the world was very much as I imagined it. I haven’t seen Another Earth yet, but think I might give it a watch over the holiday season. Cheers Marcus!

  2. did you get to see Melancholia Marcus.?..LARS VON TRIER…reaslly powerful..checjk the trailer: with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård, John Hurt, Kirsten Dunst …….Jennie and I watched it in a deserted cinema 9whixch made it evne more unreal and eerie) in the Kings Rad on London day when we were up or down there…..

  3. I’m rather excited about seeing Another Earth. I wouldn’t call myself a massive sci-fi fan, but I enjoy the sci-fi you talk about. I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in the summer and loved it. Off the subject of sci-fi, Kim Di Duk (I think that’s his name) has carved out something of a niche when it comes to sparse dialogue. I was transfixed with a film called 3-Iron.

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