Monday, January 25, 2016

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Nicolas Roeg clearly knew what he was doing when it came to casting the lead role in The Man Who Fell to Earth. He needed someone that was otherworldly and mysterious, the very essence of Thomas Jerome Newton. Who better for the part than ethereal and androgynous musician David Bowie?

At the time, Bowie was one of the biggest names in the music world. With a shock of (dyed) orange hair, he was someone that absolutely no one was prepared for. All these years later, it's because of Bowie's fearlessness when it came to expressing himself that made him such a prominent figure not just in music but pop culture as a whole. Truly he was one of a kind.

Amusingly there's a comparison or two between Bowie and his character in The Man Who Fell to Earth. Newton slowly becomes consumed by numerous earthly temptations; Bowie meanwhile was in the throes of cocaine addiction during production. This could be viewed as a prime example of art imitating life but more than likely this detail was just a coincidence.

Back to the film itself. The Man Who Fell to Earth is more or less an allegory on capitalism's crushing nature towards society. Admittedly this is a detail that's overlooked because of Roeg's imagery and Bowie's chic nature but hopefully it'll be one that gets noticed more on re-watches.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a very strange film (and not strictly because of Bowie's involvement). It's also the most 70s-looking film this side of Tommy. (And that's saying a lot.) But all in all, it's certainly something worthy of a look.

My Rating: ****1/2

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