The Man Who Fell to Earth

Starring: David Bowie, Rip Torn & Candy Clark
Warner Home Video/Canal Plus
RRP 15.99
Certificate: 18
Available now

An alien crash-lands on Earth and sets out to use his scientific knowledge to build an industrial empire that will enable him to raise enough cash to develop a ship which can take him back home. But World Enterprises becomes so successful that its owner, now trading under the name of Thomas Jerome Newton, soon becomes the source of suspicion.
The stranded humanoid alien takes to drinking, dreaming about his distant family, while all the while planning a space programme that will enable him to return to them. But things start to go badly wrong when he hires Nathan Bryce, a sleazy Chicago chemistry professor, who realises that his employer is not of this world...

The Man Who Fell to Earth, David Bowie's first leading screen role, is based around an interesting theme: what happens when cultures clash. Unfortunately, the script is uneven, Bowie's acting is often execrable, the directing is flat (often because there's clearly so little that can be achieved by Bowie) and the whole darn thing appears to last a lifetime - it's a shade over two hours, but seemingly so much longer.

Peter O'Toole was originally set to play Newton which would have made for a much better film. As it is, Bowie embarrasses with his amateurish stumblings, aided and abetted by some very silly dialogue.

Best avoided.

Anthony Clark

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