Let me start off by saying this:
This is a movie that cinephiles like me crave and dream about.Very seldom a movie comes that is so simple in it’s approach yet so captivating and novel that you just can’t afford to miss.
The Man from Earth is a 2007 American drama science fiction film written by Jerome Bixby,a proficient sci-fi writer,and directed by Richard Schenkman.
It stars David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist along with supporting actors-John Billingsley (Harry),Tony Todd (Dan), Ellen Crawford (Edith),Annika Peterson (Sandy), William Katt (Art Jenkins),Alexis Thorpe (Linda Murphy) and Richard Riehle (Dr. Will Gruber).
Jerome Bixby was a very creative and innovative mind of the twentieth century and is often noted for screenwriting four episodes of Star Trek series.
The Man from Earth was his last work which he conceived in the early 1960s and completed on his deathbed in the April 1998!
He took his time and gave the world one of the most original movies of all times.
The film was made by his son Emerson Bixby on a mere budget of $200,000.
The Man From Earth is centred on a university professor,John Oldman,who decides to leave after ten years of service, without revealing any concrete reason for his departure.
His colleagues decide to organise an improptu farewell party at his house and they press him to tell the reason for his sudden leave.Reluctant at first,but gives in to their appeal and discloses to them that he is–
A “Cro-Magnon”, who doesn’t age!
Just for the information,Cro-Magnon is the term used to describe early Homo sapiens sapiens,who were the very first early modern version humans of Europe.
The word is derived from two words–‘Cro‘,meaning ‘a hole‘ or ‘ a cavity‘ in Occitan ( a variation of French language,and is also known as Romance language by it’s native speakers and is spoken in Southern France and Italy’s Occitan valley,hence the name), and ‘Magnon‘, which was the name of the owner on whose land the first specimen of these humans were found.
Anyways,the protagonist John Oldman,reveals that he was born 14,000 years ago and after a certain period of time,he stopped aging.
Just like that.
He didn’t know the reason,but he was soon considered to be different by his group and treated accordingly,so he relocates after every ten years to conceal this fact.
“I kept getting chased because I wouldn’t die, so I got the hang of joining new groups I found.
I also got the idea of periodically moving on.”
This,of course, is taken as a Sci-Fi humor by his colleagues,but they
The fun starts when they begin speculating if such a man could really exist.Then commences a series of intellectual questions and theories directed to John,who answers their every question with remarkable ease and irrefutable logic.
Didn’t it get you excited?
What questions would YOU like to ask to a man who has seen it all?
The man who has witnessed every war and suffering…what are the truths behind legends we hear today?
John further continues to tell that he was a Sumerian for 2000 years,then a Babylonian under Hammurabi.He also was given the chance of sailing with Christopher Columbus,which he declined because,like everyone else at that time,he also thought that the world was flat and they will fall off to,who-knows-where, once they reach the edge of the planet.
Later in his life,he decided to move towards East,because he assumed it would be warmer there as compared to where he lived.That’s when he had the chance of getting acquainted with Gautam Buddha.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
Yup.He discloses that he was Buddha’s disciple until Buddha died.It is from him that he learned a lot of meditation techniques and even how to slow down his body processes upto the point where they were undetectable.
This is going to be more interesting!
One of the moments where you will hold your breath and forget to blink is where John’s colleague ask him if he ever met anyone from the Holy Bible.
John,then attempts to steer the conversation away from the topic…in vain.
His colleagues were too eager to be swayed.He had to tell it,and he did.
He told that he was,infact,Jesus Christ himself!
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME DUDE!!
He also reveals that the Bible is mostly lies and “lots of fairy-tale mixed in.“
This moment in the movie is just superb and can’t be explained.You
have to watch it and experience it yourself.
The straight face and the matter-of-fact tone of John,the bewildered and astonished look on the face of his colleagues,the background score,the atmosphere…everything just clicks so perfectly that it will send a chill down your spine.GUARANTEED!
The movie ends with a twist and you will applaud when it does, because rightfully so,this movie earns it.
MOVIE ACHIEVEMENTS (YAYs!)
The Novel Concept
The concept of the movie is fresh and imaginative.It’s intriguing to the point that you wish it were true.You want this movie to keep going and want characters to keep asking him questions about his life.
Another strength of the movie is it’s philosophical and intellectual dialogues.They flow naturally smooth and you could see that the actors were really in their characters’ skins–amazed and confused at the same time by everything that protagonist tells them.
The logical replies given by the protagonist to the questions put up by the other characters reveal the amount of time and effort put into creating the discourse in the movie.You will really make effort to find loophole in John’s words and you will be unsuccessful.Great
This one is also very important.
The whole movie would have fallen flat if the atmosphere would not have been right.
The ambiance of intellects sitting in a circle,beside a fire,discussing among themselves,really set the tone right for the entire movie.This creates an aura of low-energy that sucks you right in the movie and you will feel as though you are in the cabin with the characters themselves.
MOVIE FAILURES (BOOs)
Lack of action fest
Because the entire movie relies on intelligent discourse among the characters,it lacks the scenarios often associated with Sci-Fi movies-action sequences,lasers,high-tech guns, and massive mushroom cloud explosions.
Many people argue that the movie should have scenes of John depicting his journey and of everything he was saying that happened to him.
In my opinion,they weren’t needed.The director perhaps wanted us to fill the gaps ourselves.Whatever he would have done,he couldn’t have surpassed human imagination.
One of the fact that makes this movie so appealing to a wider audience than the usual Sci-Fi flick, is that everyone creates scenarios of protagonist’s words in their own way,and they imagine better than the SFX.
The movie is very captivating and manages to engage the audience till the end,just like a thriller.
Iam not a big science fiction fan but this movie has its position in one of my all time favourite movies.
It is a perfect blend of elements of mystery,thriller,science fiction movies and ultimately a fine masterpiece.
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!
(I advise you check out more of it’s videos at YouTube…who knows what you can get…if you know what I mean…)
Go now it if you already aren’t on your way to buying it,it’s a true fine cinematic experience.
So enjoy the movie and will be back with another great movie review.
Until Next Time