The Man from Earth
The Man from Earth is a nice little low-budget movie filmed entirely in and around a small house. It’s a fairly simple premise: the main character, Professor John Oldman, is a 14000 year old Cro-Magnon. The film consists entirely of John discussing this with his colleagues who all believe him to various degrees. At first, the film felt slow and the dialogue cliched. Even once the film got underway, the dialogue mostly consisted of just the typical questions of disbelief that you would find in any sci-fi plot twist. The acting in general is kind of weak and at times feels like an over-acted play (I know, a bit redundant, as all plays are over-acted). Dr. Phlox, especially, seems a bit over-the-top at times. However, once John’s narrative kicks in a bit, this is much less of an issue.
There are some other issues as well. Dr. Gruber’s first scene was fairly bewildering and seemed tacked on in order to provide some “action”. Additionally, they discuss how the widespread belief at the time of Christopher Columbus was that the Earth was flat. It’s a little upsetting to think that there are reasonably intelligent people out there who still believe the fiction written by Washington Irving about Christopher Columbus in the 19th century. Navigators and scholars have known that the Earth was roughly spherical since before the Common Era. This was particularly offputting since those discussing it were supposed to be professors.
There are a couple irritating characters. The film makes Edith, a literalist Christian, intentionally annoying. Even the other characters find her obnoxious. Art is equally annoying, though thats just because he’s a jerk. But, I suppose I can see how these characters were useful for driving the dialogue.
Overall, The Man from Earth had enough plot twists and a good enough premise to keep me interested. Surprisingly for a dialogue-driven film with a mediocre dialogue, The Man from Earth works very well.
Arbitrary song of the day: Beck – Deadweight