8:00 PM, 23rd June, 2012
The movie starts with a woman leaving what appears to be some sort of share house in the country. However it quickly becomes apparent that she is trying to leave surreptitiously, as someone soon gives chase. We eventually find out that this woman is Martha or Marcy May (Olsen) and she has basically escaped a cult-like community, which she retreated to after the death of her mother telling no one of her whereabouts. Freed from their confines, she tries to re-connect with her sister (Paulson) and her sister's fiancé (Dancy) but something is definitely not right with Martha. Through flashbacks of her time on the farm, we gradually get the full picture of how she became Marcy May and developed the identity of Marlene.
This is one of the most genuinely creepy movies I've seen in recent times. There's an eerie sense of foreboding that doesn't let up, even in the final scene. The intensity and vulnerability that Olsen (younger sister of the much less talented Olsen twins) brings to the film is horribly hypnotic, and this heralds the coming of a new talented young actress (and only 12 months after Jennifer Lawrence broke through!). John Hawkes also does creepy very well (you may remember him as the foreboding uncle Teardrop in last year's Winter's Bone) as the leader of the cult.
Once again, independent American cinema shows that it has much more brass when it comes to making a really scary thriller. This is one of the best films of the past few months, and I strongly encourage you to check it out!
9:57 PM, 23rd June, 2012
Star-gazer Rhoda's (Marling) life takes a turn one night when she is out celebrating her recent acceptance to MIT. A few drinks down, she looks out the window to notice that a mirror image of the Earth has appeared in the sky. That other Earth proves enough of a distraction that she ploughs her car into another; putting its driver, John (Mapother), into a coma, killing his wife and son and landing Rhoda behind bars on a DUI charge. As more details come to light about the mirror image Earth, Rhoda focuses on her own world and attempts at making amends to John.
Like 2009's Moon, Another Earth is more or less an angsty indie existential drama dressed up as a science/speculative fiction flick. By placing its focus more on the human element of what is going on the filmmakers manage to generate quite a lot of atmosphere without any real budget for special effects. There are great performances on offer by the leads, which largely accounts for the film finding success at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan prize for best film with a science or technology theme. Another Earth is certainly not what most folks will think of when they imagine a science fiction film, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if it were.