The title is apt. The film gets.
I watched it Thursday and it has stayed with me, lingering, returning in waves and flashes. Images, moments and sensations are recalled and relived. It is a truly remarkable piece of cinema and I am thrilled I saw it in that environment to really do the sound and vision (in the grandest sense of the word) justice.
The touchstones are many - Kubrick clearly, but for me beyond the visual 2001 nods there was a darker, more subterranean feeling that conjured A Clockwork Orange’s dystopian disconnection. There was Nicolas Roeg and Chris Cunningham but I also thought it echoed Lynch and Jodorowsky, Von Trier and Bunuel to varying degrees.
It was singular and completely within its own universe. It was for me, a film about the universe. The tale oft told of us ants with consciousness searching for meaning in a universe that is indifferent to our search and being hateful and wasteful with what we have as fact - the moment and each other.
The film turns on a moment that highlights the beauty and curse of consciousness and conscience and it is earned by enduring a breathlessly uncomfortable encounter. The first half is a beguiling but utterly depressing portrayal of (sadly still contemporary) gender politics and a patriarchal sense of entitlement. The film uses its science fiction elements as a way of shining a mirror on a variety of haunting contemporary issues to great effect. The second half sees the film drift into Kubrick/Aldiss/AI tragedy space but the relentless exploitation of women and lack of empathy from the universe remains coruscating.
It should be seen. The plot such as it is and characters such as they are, merely gateways to ideas and feelings and questions and soul-searching.
Johansson is amazing. Her physicality and ability to connect and convey so minimally is extraordinary.
The highly stylised conception of alien space is juxtaposed with the surveillance-esque footage perfectly. The idea of the alien species being at large in our world is handled in a moment of exquisite visual storytelling and the score by Mica Levi is astonishing.
Yes. I loved it. Yes it will likely be in my top films of the year. It may well be at the top. If I see a better film this year I’ll be amazed. Happy of course, but amazed.
Exquisite, visceral, vital cinema.