An alien lands on Earth to source out water for his dying planet. He starts a highly advanced and profitable tech company in order to build a spacecraft to transport the water. His plans are threatened when the government intercepts. Featuring rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut.
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You have the Rip Torn of early 70's, who is a highly sexual, highly masculine role model contrasted with the almost asexual/androgynous spaceman Bowie. Throw them together with highly experimental Roeg, and you have an unusual vision.
Roeg and Bowie are an avant-delight - a film experiment full of unique flourishes that don't necessarily coalesce as a whole. Bowie's music outranks this offering. Can tell 'The Fifth Element' was acutely influenced by this. Milla and David are kindred spirits.
One of the more sustainedly psychotropic narrative movies out there. Roeg goes for broke, risking embarrassment with nearly every shot, and the results are stunning, even when he falls on his face, as he does a couple times along the way.
I can almost handle the fact that The Man Who Fell To Earth was seemingly written but never finished by a sleepy or lazy person. I can also deal with its oddness just for the sake of oddness, even its strong start that gave way to its WTF ending. Equally astonishing and annoying. But don't dare tell me that anyone would give anywhere nearly as much of a shit about this movie if David Bowie wasn't in it.
A science-fiction film, told from the point of view of the alien, where Earth becomes as strange and confusing as any forbidden planet. Although the critique of American consumerism now seems dated, since the whole of the western world is one big shopping centre, the film is still powerful enough as a comment on alienation - like Walkabout - with its characters numbed by loneliness and their inability to connect...
The film could have benefited from some kind of suspense. I don't know whether he (Newton) chose not to go home, or if circumstances (friends, enemies?) prevented him from succeeding in his mission. Without such dilemmas, the film fails to realize and sustain the "modern isolated man" symbolism. I believe Roeg should have first watched a film about a modern isolated taxi driver in New York that same year.