Watch The Man Who Fell to Earth
- 2 hr 18 min
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 science-fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg, based on Walter Tevis' novel of the same name. The film stars David Bowie in his debut leading role as Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien who arrives on Earth seeking a way to save his own planet from drought. Rip Torn also stars as Nathan Bryce, a scientist who becomes Newton's business partner, and Candy Clark as Mary-Lou, his love interest.
The film follows Newton as he lands in New Mexico and begins to assimilate into human society. He quickly realizes that he needs money to build a spacecraft that will take him back to his home planet, and so he enlists the help of Bryce to develop and market his technology. Newton also falls in love with Mary-Lou, and their relationship becomes a small solace for the loneliness he feels being so far from home.
As Newton's technology is developed and his business begins to thrive, he's faced with the growing realization that he may never be able to return to his planet because of the manipulation and greed of those around him. Newton descends into a spiral of addiction and despair, unable to come to terms with his predicament.
The themes of the film are complex and profound; it's a commentary on the capitalist society in which Newton finds himself, and the corrupt nature of power and fame. Newton, as an outsider, sees the cracks in the system and becomes a victim of it himself, in the same way that he is also a victim of his own hubris and desire to do good.
Director Nicolas Roeg's style is experimental and fragmented, using a non-linear narrative and jump cuts to disorient the viewer and convey the sense of displacement that Newton experiences. The cinematography is stunning, expertly shot in New Mexico and featuring a hallucinatory color palette that amplifies the otherworldly feel of the film.
David Bowie gives a compelling performance as Newton, capturing the alien's otherness and vulnerability. His waifish appearance and androgynous features only add to the sense of unreality surrounding his character. This film is a seminal moment in Bowie's career, showcasing not only his acting abilities but also his musical talents; he wrote and sang several of the songs in the film's soundtrack. Rip Torn is also noteworthy as the Machiavellian Bryce, embodying the greed and ambition that dominates the narrative.
All in all, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a mesmerizing and haunting film that stands the test of time. It's a poignant exploration of the human condition, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of being an outsider trying to navigate a world that is not your own.
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 18 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 81.