Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Extraterrestrial

Extraterrestrial was one of the films we picked to lighten up our schedule, in terms of drama, though it had potential for actual social commentary.  We also wanted to see a film from Spain, where we had visited early this summer.  It is the second feature film from Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, who set the bar high with his debut film Timecrimes.  We have yet to see this one, but we've added it to our Netflix queue.

This story opens with the debris from a one night stand.  Julio, portrayed by Julián Villagrán (Nacho called him the Spanish Adrien Brody), awakes alone in an unfamiliar bed, clothes strewn about the room.  Unable to locate his pants, he wanders into the living room in his boxers.  He and his co-conspirator introduce themselves.  Somehow, he forgot that her name is Julia (Michelle Jenner).

Soon, the pair start to notice that things are not normal in Madrid.  The cable is out, the streets are empty, and eventually they notice that a space ship, miles wide, is hovering in the sky.  Nacho introduces a couple other characters, namely Julia's boyfriend Tipo (Miguel Noguera), and her intrusively creepy neighbor Ángel (Carlos Areces).

The presence of the UFO, which provides the plot with an excuse to keep the characters together, first distracts the characters from the obvious nature of Julio and Julia's relationship.  Eventually, however, Ángel becomes suspicious, and to discredit him, Julia drops the suggestion that perhaps he is an alien and can't be trusted.  This sets off a series of misunderstandings, confusion, and accusations -- all handled with comedic wit.

The script stays true to the self-absorbed characters, avoiding the typical "lessons learned" ending, yet ends satisfactorily.  My imdb rating: 7/10.

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