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Brother From Another Planet Reviews

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Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 28, 2007
I liked it better than Starman. It wobbles a bit at the end, but overall it's both solidly funny and interesting.
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
This movie is like a combination of a 70s drug story drama, an early 60s sci-fi movie, and an 80s independent film. I didn't know what to make of it, and I wouldn't recommend it unless that weird description I just gave interests you.
stevetheman1236
stevetheman1236

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2011
Many will be discouraged to watch Brother From Another Planet simply because of the movie's premise and title. I'll admit that it doesn't exactly sound interesting, but if you're a fan of John Sayles, this is sure to be a delight.

The Brother (the silent lead character played by Joe Morton) is a walking metaphor. That much you can pick up on from about ten minutes in. But what exactly is he a metaphor for? Does he represent the slavery of the African-American race? Or does he truly represent an alien, in the most realistic sense of the word? Maybe he stands for both. But he's the good guy here, and despite his stoic nature, you learn to like him. Joe Morton does a great job in the role, really capturing as much of the emotion of the character without ever actually saying a word. It's pretty magical.

The plot develops as you would expect it to. This Brother is here to help and he can work wonders, almost Messiah-like. It all sounds pretty cheesy, but to watch it all unfold on the TV is something else. It's got some great scenes in it and the camerawork is great. I just liked the whole style of it in general. These kinds of low-budget films always seem to get to me. By the way, did you know that John Sayles financed this movie with some of his MacArthur Fellows 'genius' grant? Did you know that he was one of the few to be selected for that award? I mean, come on. That's pretty impressive.

The only problem that I had with Brother From Another Planet is that it became more preposterous as it went along. But it didn't do this at once, like go from 'normal' to 'crazy' with a single action. No, it builds slowly over the last half hour or so until it all just explodes in a ridiculously choreographed action scene. That's when I sort of lost interest. But thank God it was close to the end.

By saying this, I'm not at all dissing John Sayles. I think the man's a fabulous filmmaker, and Lone Star is really the only film of his that I've seen. I just think he could've patched the ending up a little bit better. Things would've been a little more enjoyable than they were, and that's why I didn't like Brother From Another Planet as much I wanted to. Part of me was saying 'Man, this is cool', while another part was going 'Seriously, man? This is ridiculous.'

But hell, I don't care. Watch this film. If you think it's stupid, turn it off. But try not to. Even if it bores you, just try to get interested. Who knows? Maybe you'll learn something.
Stephen E

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2011
"Brother From Another Planet" is not an important film or one that should even be sought out. But it's clever, well-made, and well-written, and if you have the time to watch a good movie, you've got my recommendation.
June 14, 2013
Dialog is excellent. Simple story but told Creatively. Characters done well. The ending was a little weak.
February 9, 2007
After I watched this movie, I looked it up online and was *shocked* to see it got a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, since my film major roommate and I were both very, very unimpressed with it. Everything about it said crappy movie, from the unfunny jokes to the bizarre jarring transitions (more than once we asked each other, "Wait - so what just happened there?"), sound effects that appeared to have nothing to do with what was actually happening, the three instances where women I didn't care about gave long monologues about guys they were involved with (that I also didn't care about)... Nothing in this movie made sense. I couldn't pull anything out of it to be impressed with. Knowing it was supposed to be some sort of comedy cult classic doesn't change my mind on this one, although it does make me wonder what everyone else is seeing that I clearly missed.
July 7, 2008
It was a decent movie. I just saw this movie. I cant believe I just saw young looking joe morton with dreads.lol But the movie is decent once you get in to it. I never heard of it till it came out tv late at night one day.
Ken D

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2008
A very different kind of sci fi movie that is kind of dated. Joe Morton(Smallville and Eureka) gives an amazing performance as the main character and he does it all without uttering a line. Not one word. Bill Cobbs is also excellent in a small supporting role as he was very funny for the short time he was on screen. Just be prepared for those feet.
RblWthACoz
January 7, 2008
For what it is, it's well made. Put together on a very small budget, a classic really was born out of this one. And Joe Morton acting without speaking the whole time? Great performance. Loved the scenes at the pre-refurbished Ellis Island.
December 9, 2007
A unique blend of racial commentary and immigrant fable from John Sayles. Joe Morton's worldess performance carries an awful lot of weight.
paeanhera
July 27, 2007
This one was out on the fringe in the 80s and still feels it now. Notice the dating with the video games...only slows down a bit because of the "moral tale attached to it.
kleenexwoman42
May 5, 2007
A deceptively intelligent "stranger in a strange land" story, with well-drawn characters and stylish villians.
James K.
August 2, 2014
In the more recent years of cinema, the rise of the independent feature film has now become something of a common practice in Hollywood. Practically, anyone- under the right circumstances and regulations- can make a movie. And this truly was the case back in the 70s and 80s. Which brings us to today's feature film. Shot in 1983, and released the following year, "The Brother from Another Planet" is an interesting look at a case of mistaken identity. While the film does suffer from some problems, it's still good for what it's worth. "The Brother from Another Planet" takes a relatively common story that has been seen and done numerous times, and turns it on its side.

The story involves an alien (Joe Morton) who crash lands on Earth because of a technical malfunction. The alien just so happens to land in Harlem, NY. He blends into the city very well as he has a dark skin complexion, so he is given the nickname of Brother. The Brother soon adapts to the society of the time, and even uses his talents to get him some jobs. Unfortunately, the Brother also sees the grim underbelly of Harlem: people you can't trust, and drug dealers to give examples. Meanwhile, two cops try to capture the brother as he is a wanted fugitive.

"The Brother from Another Planet" is a good and interesting film to watch. The story presents itself with the idea that someone not from this world has to try and adapt to our own unique way of living. Yes, this type of story had been done before in other films, both before and after, but the curiosity factor in this movie is definitely high. This is mainly applied to the performances in the movie: their good, but Morton steals the show. The reason behind this is that throughout the entire movie, the Brother is mute, making the perfect chance to see a main character not talk throughout the entirety of the film. From a directive standpoint, John Sayles did a very good job. Musically, the soundtrack is great as has a unique style of instruments being provided, like the steel drum, and offers a wide variety of genres to reflect like jazz. Finally, the movie takes a small budget of approximately $400,000 and make something work with this kind of money.

However, there are some problems concerning the film. First, there are a lot of plot holes and questions that are left unanswered. Couldn't the U.S. government be aware of an alien that has landed on Earth, and done a little bit of research? Who sent the cops? What was the crime that the Brother committed? It feels lacking and it leaves a lot to the imagination. Next, the pacing can be an issue, as the movie runs very slowly. And for technology's sake, the movie deserves a remake.

In conclusion, "The Brother from Another Planet" is a nice little film that needs to be seen on how independent films back then had the potential of being noticed by the public.
May 23, 2014
As the title of this film suggests, Brother From Another Planet concerns a black extraterrestrial (Joe Morton) that crash lands in Harlem. Although mute, the alien possesses empathetic and healing abilities that quickly endear him to the locals. The movie does have an overarching storyline involving a pair of intergalactic bounty hunters that are pursuing our hero, but much of the running time is spent on vignettes where the alien interacts with various people. These encounters give the story a great deal of humanism and no small amount of socio-political observation. I wouldn't call Brother From Another Planet an outstanding masterwork, but it's an interesting art house production that should pique the interest of sci-fi buffs.
February 24, 2014
I saw this many years ago and remembered it being very interesting. Watching it again I was surpised at how good it actually is. It may seem dated because of the format, but it remains a truly thought provoking and watchable movie.
February 16, 2014
A smart, clever, witty sci-fi allegory for race relations and black self-examination in 1984, while also reenacting the history of the Underground Railroad.
January 29, 2014
Interesting movie, but it was vague at times and I found myself guessing at the character more than understanding him. Maybe it just didn't have my full attention.
January 25, 2014
One of the coolest little indies you will ever see.
Charlie J.
August 10, 2013
Joe Morton is excellent as a fugitive from a planet on which he is persecuted for being a "three-toe." All around good film.
July 4, 2013
4 stars because it's a great movie, not 5 because dark humor makes it uselessly disturbing every now and then.

PS: first appearance of Men in Black should deserve and additional star.
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