Another Earth (12A)
Verdict: More arty nonsense
Writer-director Mike Cahill’s acclaimed American indie film is about a beautiful, gifted young scientist (co-writer Brit Marling) who causes a car crash that accidentally kills the wife and child of a middle-aged music professor (William Mapother).
She goes to apologise to him, but impulsively keeps her identity a secret and becomes his cleaner.
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Sci-fi indie flick: A second Earth appears in the sky, you see, and it contains an alternate reality that's a mirror-image of our own
This might be just another personal tale of personal redemption, except that it also dabbles in science fiction.
A second Earth has appeared in the sky, you see, and it contains an alternate reality that’s a mirror-image of our own — an idea first explored in the 1969 British film, Doppelganger, also known as Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.
Our heroine wonders if, by visiting this planet, she could erase her mistake.
The film needs an agonisingly slow 97 minutes to reach a point at which the story takes an interesting turn, whereupon it ends abruptly.
That makes it both long-winded and profoundly unsatisfying.
Pondering regrets: Our heroine, played by Brit Marling, wonders if, by visiting this planet, she could erase her mistake
The sci-fi element is annoyingly underwritten. No one explains how a large planet can suddenly appear so near Earth.
And wouldn’t it have huge gravitational effects? Even Lars von Trier’s Melancholia had more grasp of science.
And don’t get me started on the sentimental subplot about the heroine’s only friend, a blind Native American janitor, who seems to have wandered in from an Oliver Stone movie, and a bad one at that.
This is the kind of miserabilist film that routinely wins respectful reviews because it’s so un-Hollywood.
And it’s true, you couldn’t get further away from the feelgood banalities of New Year’s Eve.
But just because Another Earth is an ordeal to sit through doesn’t mean that it’s deep.
This is pretentious twaddle and an ill-considered mixture of realism and science fiction.
They simply don’t go together — not on this earth, at least.