The Man Who Fell to Earth: Sex, sex, capitalism, and sex.

Sci-fi from the 70s is interesting if for no other reason than the increased, or at least more overt, social consciousness. Logan’s Run presented the age-gap and a radical response to the perceived burden of an aging population; Soylent Green described a world revaged by poor environmental policy; Rollerball was about, um, the dangers of megacorporations (I’m making this up as I go along, of course). The Man Who Fell to Earth has at its core, essentially, the destructive nature of human acquisitiveness and fear. Layer that with an awful lot of moderately disturbing sex scenes, and you’ve got this film, more or less, although they don’t exactly spoonfeed it to the audience. It jumps around in time and place, between the real and the envisioned, fluidly if confusingly.

And, of course, there’s David Bowie. He’s a striking choice for the alien: he kind of is alien, with an otherworldly sort of emotive flatness, which fades gradually over the course of the film as Newton himself becomes more humanlike. It’s hard to describe, but he’s an intriguing actor, carrying over a lot of the more inhuman aspects of his glam-rock persona. We don’t see that so much in, say, Labyrinth.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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