PLOT SUMMARY: What if a man from the Upper Paleolithic had survived until the present day? A retiring scholar tries to convince his colleagues that he is a 14,000 year old immortal cave man.
PEOPLE: Written by Jerome Bixby, who wrote 4 Star Trek (original) episodes, including the mirror universe where everyone has a beard, and the episode about a 6,000 year old man; a similar premise to this movie in some ways. He also wrote one Twilight Zone ep (from the original series) — anyone who has ever feared being “wished away to the cornfield” knows what I’m talking about. It was important enough that The Simpsons parodied it in Treehouse Of Horror II. “It’s real good that you done that.” About all he’s done since then is the 3rd segment of the 1983 Twilight Zone movie, 1 ep in the 2003 Twilight Zone series … And this movie. This is likely because he he died in 1998, and as a corpse is unable to keep writing. This was his last work before his death.
Only a few actors in this movie. Main character John Oldman (get it? old man) is David Lee Smith (Walter from Fight Club, Zodiac, CSI:Miami). Main skeptic is William Katt (The Greatest American Hero!!!), who plays a creepy teacher who’s dating a student way too young for him (Alexis Thorpe, who was in American Pie 3:American Wedding, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck, and 238 eps of Days Of Our Lives). Token black guy is Tony Todd (The Candyman from Candyman 1-2, Rev. Zombie from Hatchet 1-2, Final Destination 1-5, 7 eps of Star Trek Voyager/TNG/DS9), who plays a really mellow and open-minded, easy-going guy (often the voice of reason in this movie). Christian skeptic is Ellen Crawford (Nurse Lydia Wright from 113 eps of E.R.). John Oldman’s girlfriend is Annika Peterson (Shannon O’Reilly from 2 eps of Oz). The irrational shrink is Richard Riehle — who totally reminds me of the “I’ll make your bub-bubs bounce” / “this is what I do, I sit on you” guy. He was in Office Space, Smiley Face, Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell, Hatchet, Palindromes (yuck), Deuce Bigalow:Male Gigolo, was the principle in the Ferris Bueller TV series (what lost out to Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), and in general has a ton of small roles; he was almost Cliff Claven in Cheers. We also have John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox from 98 eps of Star Trek:Enterprise, 2012, Michael Lathan from 3 eps of 24 Season 7, Mike Spencer from True Blood).
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Jesus, incapable of loving his girlfriend, abandons all his friends…AGAIN!
QUIRKS: Talking. All talking. This whole movie is basically a bunch of people in one room talking. A Melvin Goes To Dinner type thing. Incredible dialogue covering history, religion, biology, and more.
VISUALS: Shot with camcorders. Makes it look more like an 80’s film than a 2007 film.
SOUNDTRACK: Not really.
MORALS: A crazy enough truth will force you to lie. Telling the wrong truth will cause society to turn against you, even if it’s true.
POLITICS: Religion is bullshit.
Also, the producer thanked the bittorrent pirates for raising the profile of this film and ultimately making it money!
GOOD STUFF: Incredible dialogue!! What a concept! Thought provoking! Interesting simply by the words; this could easily work as a text-only story as well.
BAD STUFF: No action, no explosions, no special effects. This is dry sci fi. I don’t mind the change of pace, but the lack of real excitement beyond the dialogue is perhaps what kept me from giving it a full 5 stars.
CONCLUSION: A very thought-provoking, completely conversation-driven movie about an immortal man, and the extreme implications of his immortality. It’s rare to have a movie that is COMPLETELY conversation — 8 people in a room just talking for 90 minutes. No sex. No CGI. No explosions. It’s even rarer for such a movie to not be at all boring (though SOME would be bored by this; Michael Bay is necessary). If you like older sci-fi — this is a good movie much in the vein of older, less production-driven sci-fi. They even shot it with camcorders so it looks more like a 1980’s movie, even though it was made in 2007. Good stuff.
Clint: Netflix: 4.4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.0/10 (rather high for IMDB), Netflix: 3.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4/5 stars).
RECOMMENDATION: Some Christians get offended at this. GFY!
SIMILAR MOVIES: Hard to say!
MOVIE QUOTE: This movie is full of good dialogue, but it’s not very quotable. It’s all good because of the context of the discussion/situation; the lines don’t really stand alone as strong quotes, per se.
FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Dad liked it enough to recommend it to me as something I’d like.
OTHER REVIEWS: 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.