The Man Who Fell to Earth – review
The title role in ‘The Man Who fell to Earth’ was the first, but infrequent, starring role for Music Legend David Bowie. In it Bowie plays Thomas Jerome Newton, an Alien who has come to earth to find water to save his planet. Newton must build a high-tech empire to fund his journey home but he gets lost in the excesses of 1970’s America.
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Cast: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark.
I first saw this film as a student in ‘fresher’s week 1978′ at Southampton Students Union in the Debating Chamber. It was part of all night festival which included ‘Catch 22’, a strange pornographic version of ‘Felix the cat’, and some other titles I can’t even remember. None of the others made much of an impression (even if catch 22 was ‘of its time’), but I was entranced by ‘The Man who Fell to Earth’ and especially by Bowie.
A calm, beautiful, thought provoking film that explores greed, power, and excess, though the eyes of an outsider. For a complete novice Bowie give a master class in a role that was ‘made to measure’ for his androgynous stunning looks, and his eccentric persona. Perhaps the fiction reflected his own fame, power and sense of alienation, and this made it easy for him. Whatever the reasons, I don’t care, his performance has stick in my mind for almost 40 years.
Rip Torn and the others supported brilliantly and the script builds slowly to edgy exciting climax. If by some chance you have not seen this film you should watch it today! It is still fresh and relevant.
I have review this film in Tribute to David Bowie, who died yesterday at the age of 69. You may have guessed I am somewhat of a fan, but for me it is slightly more than just that. I am not the first to say, nor will I be the last, but Bowie’s music has been the ‘soundtrack to my life’ and I will miss him. RIP David Bowie 1947-2016
Reviewed by TheManInTheBlackHat.