Before I ask you to read this article or even give you the details about what exactly it is, I would like to tell you that I have a slight OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) when it comes to movies, and yes I do watch them a lot, in fact watching,movies is one of the few things I am good at doing, this is the first time I am writing an “original” review and let me tell you that I have OCD’d on hundreds of the thousand odd movies I have watched till date, but those feelings fizzle out soon. Before I begin I will also tell you that this movie may not be my most favourite one, but this small budget, commercially unpopular indie, surely is the one which has played with my imagination the most. (Yes, out of the hundreds)
The movie I am reviewing today ( as you obviously know from the title) is “The Man From Earth”. It has been directed by Richard Schenkman and has been written by the late Jerome Bixby. This movie has been lying in my hard disk, along with the other 900 odd movies, for quite sometime now. As I never heard about it, I never bothered to watch it, until tonight when I accidently opened it instead of opening the folder ‘The Hobbit’. And boy was it a good accident. The man from earth is an 87 minute long film made on a very low budget of less than 200000$ and it has been shot on 2 basic Panasonic camcorders, hence you will find a lot of video noise in it, and the entire film is set in and around the main character Professor John Oldman’s (David Lee Smith) house.
The basic plot of the movie is about a goodbye party thrown by Professor John Oldman’s colleagues from the university. The initial few minutes are dull, showing a boring afternoon of a bunch of university professors. And that’s when things get interesting, when professor Oldman reveals to his colleagues that he is an “Cra-magon” and has walked the earth for 14000 years as a human and that he doesn’t age. Yes, it sounds like some same old crappy sci fi movie with high action and explosions and the whole 9 yards. But no, it isn’t one. To the contrary it is actually an high intense drama with very soft screenplay and humble middle and old aged actors mixed with some beautiful background score. And don’t forget what I told you about the entire movie being set and shot,in and around, the professor’s house. (There is literally no other shot in the movie.) In simple words, the movie is an intellectual debate, more of a high octane question and answer round between some highly qualified people. After all, in all his colleagues, one is an Anthropologist, one an Archeologist, a English Literalist, one a psychiatrist and the youngest of the all, 35 year old professor Oldman a historian himself, there is also a curious (hot) young university student present in the house. At first, every one thinks of it as some sort of joke and plays along sportily, but when Oldman’s explanations start questioning the rest of the group’s reasoning and reality, things get very serious. I would like you to imagine what kind of questions would you ask if someone told you that he has been alive for the past 14000 years. Vast and deep topics like faith, religion, biology, geology, existence, calamities, creation, death, guilt, empires, myths, science and even God are raised and covered in the movie so tactically and reasonably that I even dare say that by the end of the movie , you (like me) will be forced to think “maybe, why not?”. There is a point in the movie where a question arises about Christianity and the Holy Bible, where Oldman says that he was a biblical figure in the Bible ( I wont spoil your fun by revealing who he claims to be) , and he explains the whole new testament in 100 words and clears the the myth about Jesus, trust me I was blown away by the logical reasoning. The makers of the film have done a real good job, because most of the questions which will arise in your mind are asked to Oldman by the other characters and you will be simply fascinated and awe struck by the logical answer he has to every question. That is the main USP of this movie, the way it fascinates you with each passing minute and thought. Coming to the Indian Connection , topics on Gautam Buddha and a little about Krishna are covered. The Roman Empire, Van Gogh and the pre historic cavemen were my favorite areas. In short this movie is deeply philosophical and mainly been made for art cinema watchers. But it is a whole lot more.
This movie never had a wide commercial release, it has been one of the most famous ones in the torrent sharing ones. In fact the producers of the movie publically thanked bit torrent for publicizing this small budget movie to such a large extent.
Before wrapping up I would like to tell you that good cinema according to me is not a one shot with an Imax camera and in 15 different countries. The simplest of the stories, say for example the story of a guy writing his first ever movie review can be told. But it is the way you tell the story that really matters. Audience likes something fascinating and fresh. And believe me when I tell you, “Then Man from Earth” is as fresh as it gets. As far as, whether Mr.Oldman being alive for 14000 years is concerned , I suggest you watch the movie for the truth to unravel, it has a very gripping end. 🙂