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Sep 072012
 



(Recommended by iamthechampion007)

The Buddha knew there was something different about me.
– John to his audience

Director: Richard Schenkman.
Writer: Jerome Bixby
Cast: David Lee Smith, John Billingsley, Tony Todd, Richard Riehle

Not unless you’ve seen this movie would you grasp how apt the above headline is.

At the behest of one of the many schmucks who orbit around my virtual home, I watched The Man from Earth last night.

Being the polymath that I’m, I’d, of course, heard of  The Man from Earth.

I vaguely remembered that the centerpiece of the movie was about a man who claimed to be 14,000-years-old.

Since I see a lot of movies, it takes a lot to impress me. Alas, most movies leave me with a deja vu, time-wasted feeling.

But I will confess right at the outset that The Man from Earth is one of the rare movies that held my attention.

And for once I’m glad to have heeded the suggestion of a reader.

What’s It About?

Well, a better question would have been What’s He All About?

Or, if you follow the lead of some of the characters in the movie, maybe even What’s His Yarn All About?

The He and His refers to John, one of the characters in the film.

It’d be wrong to describe John as the ‘main’ character.

This is not that kind of movie.

If there’s a central ‘anything’ in this highly interesting movie it’s the incredible story John Oldman (David Lee Smith) narrates to his fellow professors who have arrived at his cottage to bid him goodbye.

John is ‘moving on’ and a few of his close colleagues have gathered at the cottage to have a drink and also find out why he’s leaving when things are going swimmingly well for him.

And Thus Spake John

Although at first reluctant to disclose the reasons behind his imminent departure, John slowly lets the cat out of the bag.

It’s a cozy setting in John’s cottage.

The small group of friends is drinking Johnny Walker Green Whiskey and digging into chicken wings.

At the prodding of his friends, John embarks upon a gripping, astonishing account of his origins as a caveman and the many, many, many years since.

Although completely disbelieving his tale and occasionally even angry over the ‘hoax’ being played on them, John’s colleagues are spellbound and won’t let him stop.

For after all, John’s life voyage has been an extraordinary one taking him through calm seas and rough waves of many ages, many civilization and many geographies.

To every question designed to trip him up, John has the ‘right’ answer!

The cave paintings in France, Sumerians, India, Buddha, Biblical figures, Plague, Columbus and the modern cell phone, John has seen ‘em all.

Remarkable Film

I found The Man from Earth interesting for several reasons.

First, the story is so outrageous and so riveting in its ability to stun even jaded moviegoers like yours truly.

The majority of movies, more so Indian films, are repetitive with similar underlying themes of love, crime, revenge etc and differ merely in the details or the stars playing the roles.

But The Man from Earth is a triumph of imagination. Kudos to the late short story and science fiction writer Jerome Bixby.

Second, the screenplay in tune with the story is brilliant in its simplicity.

Oftentimes in life, simplicity is a goal harder to meet than complexity.

Third, the acting, whether of David Lee Smith who plays John, Tony Todd (as Dan), John Billingsley (Harry) or the others is decent and seems perfect for the narrative.

There’s a message too in the movie but Man is unlikely to heed it in his march of folly.

Although the entire setting of the movie is within the small confines of a cottage, I found very pleasing the lighting arrangement, particularly toward the end as it gets dark.

The tragic ending served as the fitting finale of a film that relies more on the stimuli of engaging dialogs to draw the audience into its fold..

By the way, The Man from Earth was made on a budget of, hold your breath now,  $200,000. Yes, a piffling two hundred thousand dollars.

Of course, this stimulating literal ‘caveman’ film is not for the figurative Indian cavemen who drool only at the sight of a Salman, Katrina or Akshay behaving like asses on the screen.

But I’ll take the literal caveman any day. ;)

  6 Responses to “The Man from Earth Review – Holy Christ, This One is Not for the Indian Cavemen!”

  1. Happy to know dat u loved the movie.

    And can u believe it, this movie never got a theatrical release….

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    But every crappy Hindi film releases in Regal, AMC etc on the East Coast.

    One of the many ironies of life.

    The Man from Earth had a theatrical release in two small theatres but you’re right. For all practical purposes, it went straight to DVD. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_from_Earth#Distribution_and_Publicity

  2. Not sure if u noted another important thing….The lead actor David Lee Smith doesn’t hav a Wikipedia page.

    When i went thru his imdb page, i came to know that from his filmography that he has done a few other movies like A Walk To Remember and Fight Club…..Strange ‘coz i watchd Fight Club a few yrs bak and i cant remember wich role he had in it….felt sad coz i lovd him in ‘The Man From Earth’…though one cannot be judged from juz a single movie, i strongly believe dat he is a decent actor coz its his (and of course, other actors’ too) screen presence and convincing performance, apart from the brilliant flawless script that engage the viewers….

    wat do u think??

    Does he deserve a wiki page?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Yes, I did notice the other day that David Lee Smith doesn’t have a Wiki page.

    2. You write: Does he deserve a wiki page?

    Of course, David Lee Smith deserves a Wiki page.

    Hell, even offal like Abhishek Bachchan has a Wiki page.

  3. Nice post, I’d heard about this movie from a few of my friends, who watched it in some US movie channel a few years back. I read the wikipedia article on this film and I think this is a great one to watch, but unfortunately, I’m not sure that this is one of those few movies you can buy from the local DVD store. :(

    Btw, a small science tidbit, I read an article once that man can live for 1024 years if there was a way to possible tweak and tamper with his DNA via some machine/method.

    This is one of those articles, which state the possibility of extending HUman life through DNA repair.
    http://www.davidewingduncan.com/media/acumen_longevity.pdf

    FYI, there is a very minute possibility that some of our ancestors have already lived beyond two centuries using some advanced form of medicine, whose secret was lost through the ages. Fascinating stuff, hard to believe, but impossible to prove false.

    After all, before Wright brothers invented/innovated the airplane, people firmly believed that flying was only the right of birds/angels :)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. The article in your above link is very interesting. Thanks.

    But don’t show the below excerpt from the article to Narendra Modi or other Indian politicians.

    Caloric restriction remains the most promising method of extending life currently available to humans.

    They might use it as an excuse to explain malnutrition and starvation among the poor. ;)

    2. Then there’s another worrying aspect of modifying the DAF-2 gene – What if Ajith, Abishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Trisha Krishnan live forever?

    Good lord, the mere thought of Trisha or Abishek tormenting moviegoers for decades is enough to send me to an early grave.

    3. Jokes apart, I think the only thing under our control at this time is calorific restriction.

    Although I’m a strong believer in its efficacy, I’ve been unable to practice it so far. I blame the cornucopia of delicious Indian food and sweets for my failure.

    The mere sight and smell of Indian food pushes me into an euphoric orgasmic high.

    4. You write: FYI, there is a very minute possibility that some of our ancestors have already lived beyond two centuries using some advanced form of medicine, whose secret was lost through the ages. Fascinating stuff, hard to believe, but impossible to prove false.

    When we were young, our relatives who had visited the lower elevations of the Himalayas used to mention seeing old ‘saints’ wearing scant clothes moving about in the snowy hills.

    5. All that said, I’m planning to take another shot at lowering my calorific intake (i.e. food intake) by quite a bit and raising Black Coffee and Alcohol intake just a little bit to boost the longevity of the SI blog. Check back in 50 years to see if it worked! ;)

  4. A frnd of mine tried to read this review but he said he couldnt find it in the site…and wen i myself tried to access it from this particular page( http://www.searchindia.com/search/hollywood-movies/hollywood-movie-reviews.html ) even i couldnot find it….The link to this movie’s review is missing……kindly post the links to all ur movie reviews there….

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I will add Man from Earth to your above link in a little while.

  5. thnx