Posted on 2/15/10 11:40 PM
Get out there and see this film.
The Man From Earth is exactly the type of movie I've been scouring the internet for; unknown, unseen, yet intellectually fulfilling. Much the way Primer set the mathematical side of my brain on fire, The Man From Earth stimulated historical reflection and a near-childlike curiosity (and trust me, I am not a childlike person. Fuck. Okay, maybe immature. But not childlike. All right enough of the parenthetical digression.)
I do think several people will be tempted to overrate this movie - namely because a small part of the film depicts a woman of faith as a bumbling moron, essentially staking the claim that this person is a symbol of Christianity. No, I'm not a fan of Christianity, but I know certain atheists love watching Christ-bashing just like foreigners love In Bruges for its American-bashing. However, the point the film makes is not at all Anti-Christian, but rather anti-Christian establishment, which I think is more than valid.
That's half of what makes The Man From Earth so good - it challenges your perspective. It gives us a protagonist who has lived so long that he has come to realize the pettiness of personal beliefs (or rather the fault in the imposition of those beliefs on those who disagree). There is a startling amount of truth in the immortal's words, so much so that the separate emotional reactions of each character (themselves metaphors) are entirely believable.
Cue segue into the second key asset of the film: entertainment. The method in which the protagonist reveals his past and displays his encyclopedic knowledge of history and basically every other science is quietly riveting. There are certain plot twists that are far from transparent. Most of all, like the characters, everything seems entirely possible. This "possibility" piques curiosity, leading to the viewer asking him or herself the question that great films inspire: What if?
What if someone really did live for fourteen thousand years? What if you met them? Would you believe them? If not, how would you disprove them? And, all of a sudden, you realize:
"I just saw a great movie."