The man who fell to earth is a film directed by Nicholas Roeg (2011 [DVD]) about an unusual man who appears mysteriously to build a business. From the begining the audience knows little about this character other than the idea that he is an Alien coming to the Earth for a yet unknown purpose. The mans name is Thomas Jerome Newton, which is an interesting choice a it relates heavily to e aspect of “falling” and gravity which I will be mentioning again later. There will be spoilers ahead.
There were a few interesting points about the film that I believe summons the concept well. One quote in particular that instantly stood out to me was that Newton’s business was “dumping computers, they’re installing humans”. Installing was a word that struck me, it is such a strange word to use to describe a human and is more fluent when used with machines. It seems this choice is magnifying the idea that Newton is using the humans to get to his goal, he is relying on their resources and buying them with his money. Money is something that also commonly occurs in this film, he gives it out like it is water, which works as an idea in many ways. Water is precious to him yet money is not, money is precious to humans yet water is not. That is exactly how the story feels a common exchange of needs.
This exchange of money also occurs when we see Newtons relationship with Mary Lou, he gives gifts and offers money when all she wants is to be with him. It is made clear that his emotions too are quite alien, he expresses “I don’t hate anyone, I can’t”. This brings a realisation to me that whe also can’t love, that is why he doesn’t really understand Mary Lou’s compassion for him. This alien perception of earth is also expressed when Newton watches television and can’t quite grasp it, he knows it is fiction yet he is trying to learn aspects of Earth from it. Newton mentions ” it shows you everything about life on Earth yet the true mysteries remain”, I believe see mysteries are human interactions and emotion as he still does not grasp how to truly feel.
Lastly I will return to the title and the aspects of “fell” and “falling”. Through this film it seems everything lands into place, much like gravity. Newton gains money, he begins building his machines yet things still seem to fall. He is discovered by the government, locked up, experimented on, practically blinded and comes to the conclusion that his family is dead. He never goes home and stay miserable, alone and rich on earth. The last words of the film are “I think perhaps Mr Newton has had enough, don’t you?” with the reply “I think…perhaps…you’re right.” This gave more meaning than merely too much alcohol, Newton ha literally had enough of his life, he continues to fall through misery and will probably continue that way now that Mary Lou has also stopped talking to him completely.
Over all I think this film has some interesting qualities, yet I have to admit I didn’t enjoy it too much. I felt the pace was incredibly slow and over time some things happened that I didn’t quite unstandardised (like the vision of people from the olden days seeing him). Yet I think this film is great to research or see if you enjoy science fiction. It is an ingesting film to look at achedemically.
The man who fell to earth (2011) Directed by Nicholas Roeg. [DVD] UK: OPtimum Releasing
Film on paper (2013) Interview with Vic Fair. Available at: http://www.filmonpaper.com/blog/interview-vic-fair/ (Accessed: 13 October 2015)
Film on paper (2013):