Every once in a while you come across these offbeat, relatively unheard of movies which simply take your breath away. The Man from Earth is one such movie which would rank really high in the ‘taking breath away’ department. The theme with which the movie deals with and the sheer simplicity with which this story has been told is something that will make this movie one of my all time favorite ‘talk-about movies’. Going against my usual norm of knowing more about movies before I actually watch them (Courtest IMDB and Wikipedia), this was one movie for which I relied purely on a friend’s recommendation to the Missus.
So there we were, the Missus and me having started off with this movie with a completely open mind, without any expectations from the movie itself. And believe me, the kind of discussions we have had about this movie after having watched it is nothing short of strenous exercise to the grey cells. This movie makes you think about life and time in ways that can only be experienced and not talked or written about. That being said, this movie is not for the faint of heart, and if you are someone who wants to stick to his beliefs no matter what, then you will hate this movie, for the sheer courage it displays in questioning the basics of your beliefs.
The movie deals with Prof John Oldman being thrown a surprise farewell party by his colleagues. The group consists of an archaeologist, a biologist, an Arts Prof, an anthropologist and a student. When John’s friends force him to disclose the reasons for his sudden departure, he hesitatingly reveals to them that he is in fact a 14,000 yr old man, who has survived from the Upper Paleolithic period till current day. Initially, his friends play along with his ‘game’ and humor him with questions regarding his origins, his memories, trying to find chinks in his story so that they could call his bluff. But as the conversation goes on, John’s steadfastness and forthrightness forces them to believe that there is more to his story than they initially thought.
John narrates how he travelled with Christopher Columbus, how he was friends with Van Gogh, how he was a Sumerian and then a Babylonian under Hammurabi. The final tipping point to this conversation was when John actually claims he was Jesus and how he never actually performed all the miracles as stated in the Bible. In fact, this particular discussion deeply disturbs one of the professors who was a devout Christian.
How the movie ends, and what happens of this conversation is quite interesting and any discussion around that in this post would render this review to a huge spoiler. Suffice to say that this movie is probably one of the best (if not ‘the best’) science fiction movies that I have ever seen. Yes, it doesn’t have little green men, it doesn’t even mention a planet other than Earth, and for sure it doesn’t have huge multi-storeyed spaceships, but then this movie has so much food for thought that it beats all of these gizmos and gimmicks hands down. Trust me when I say this, if you watch this movie, this will stay with you for a long time to come.
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