The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut, completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances.—The Criterion Collection
London-born Nicolas Roeg served in the military as a projectionist, and entered the movie industry immediately after World War II as a gofer and apprentice editor. He joined MGM’s British studios in 1950, and eventually became a cinematographer in 1959, working on a multitude of films of all types, from second unit work on Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to primary photography on the rock & roll exploitation films Just for Fun (1963), Every Day’s a Holiday (1965), and The System (1966). He moved into the director’s chair with Performance (1970), which he co-directed with Donald Cammell, and made a major impression with the low-keyed, eerily compelling drama Walkabout (1971). By the mid-‘70s, Roeg was one of England’s most respected filmmakers, responsible for the unsettling thriller Don’t Look Now (1973), and the sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). With the possible exception Insignificance (1985) and the compellingly obscure Track 29 (1988) Roeg’s output throughout the 1980s… read more
Equal parts frustrating and fascinating this is a creative and challenging stream-of-conciousness film. It has plenty of well executed ideas and performances but overall the film doesn't come together into a great film. Also its pretty nice to see Fassbender's inspiration for his role in Prometheus.
At it's heart, this is a classic morality tale: Alien Bowie comes to Earth to save dying planet but is corrupted by promiscuous sex, commercialism, television, and drugs; it's a timeless and ever relevant message. Wanton pleasure can destroy a person, or in this case alien. There are moments of such poetic beauty and transcendence and Bowie's performance is really what makes this film worth watching. He was at the height of his cocaine addiction and you can see him falling apart on screen. There's such an honest intensity to his work here. Now the downside. Roeg is one of those directors whose work hasn't aged very well. It's very seeped in that "trippy" 70s style, and for chunks of time there's a whole lot of nothing happening and then bursts of insanity that derail the film. And I'm not a fan of Roeg's signature cross cuts. To me, it's just gimmicky. But when he's good, he's good. Worth watching for the ideas and for Bowie's intense performance.
One of the best contemporary movie poster artists shares her influences and inspirations.
Revisiting the icon’s impact on pop and, to a lesser degree, of course, cinema.
With Insignificance (1985) out from Criterion last week (see the roundup), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) opening at Film Forum in New York