The Man Who Fell to Earth

the man who fell to earth - Chiwetel and Naomie
the man who fell to earth - Chiwetel and Naomie
4
Great!

Title: The Man Who Fell to Earth (2022)
Creators: Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomi Harris, Clarke Peters, Bill Nighy


A traveler from another world crashes into the dry oilfields of New Mexico. Naked, exhausted and afraid, he is barely able to disguise himself as a human as he sets about to achieve his mission to find a brilliant scientist who can help him save his homeworld.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a follow-up to the 1976 science fiction classic starring the late, great David Bowie. The film was based on Walter Tevis’ book by the same name, following an alien calling himself Thomas Jerome Newton coming to earth to find water to save his dying planet. Along the way, he gets sidetracked by love, greed and other complications stemming from the human condition. Now, another traveler has come to Earth with the same goal and to find out what happened to his predecessor, who never returned.

The new series is created by series maestro Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, with Kurtzman also sitting in the director’s chair for at least four of the episodes in the first season (the ones I had access to for this review). British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor brilliantly portrays the lost and thoroughly culture-shocked alien traveler Faraday, while Naomie Harris plays the scientist Justin Falls.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Faraday and Naomi Harris as Justin Falls.

Faraday arrives on Earth and is quickly arrested for his un-humanlike behavior – such as standing naked in a garage with a water hose down his throat! Naming Justin Falls as his only contact, she comes to pick him up at the police station, not knowing who this stranger is. Justin is poor and desperate after putting aside a promising career as a scientist to care for her young daughter (played by Annelle Olaleye) and ailing father, Josiah (played by Clarke Peters). But with both Faraday’s and Justin’s worlds in peril from ecological collapse, and with the help of Faraday’s alien technology and strange powers, the two set out in search of an invention created by Thomas Jerome Newton (played by Bill Nighy) and a way to save their planets.

Walter Tevis’ original novel, which he considered a veiled autobiography about alcoholism and existential angst, was originally meant to be turned into a television series. That didn’t pan out, but studios later picked up the rights and got David Bowie on board to play the lead role. The film has achieved cult status in the years since its release with themes about hope in the face of adversity and a reflection on the human condition in the 70s.

Bill Nighy as Thomas Jerome Newton.

And while the new series mostly holds on to these themes, it has been updated to face contemporary issues. Here, the new alien Faraday comes to Earth to find out what happened to Newton, as the plight of his homeworld grows more and more desperate. There are some big ideas and strong, often blatant themes around ecology and climate change in this new The Man Who Fell to Earth. Criticism and even satire are frequently levied against certain political leanings and big tech companies that may put off, even anger, many viewers in our increasingly polarized society. But personally, the somewhat preachy tone of The Man Who Fell to Earth fits my worldview very well, so I didn’t have any issues with it.

But the main draw for me was Chiwetel Ejiofor’s amazing portrayal of Faraday. Stealing every scene he is in, Ejiofor plays the confused fish-out-of-water character with a robotic staccato that gradually falls away to show warmth and empathy. His chemistry with co-star Naomie Harris is on point too, and the pair makes up a great duo to follow through the story.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a great take on a cult science fiction classic. With its big ideas and themes around climate change, it might not be for everyone. But I really enjoyed it, and I’ll be sure to watch the rest of the episodes once they are released!

The Man Who Fell to Earth is streaming from April 24th on Showtime in USA and Paramount+ in the Nordics and around the world.

the man who fell to earth - Chiwetel and Naomie
The Man Who Fell to Earth
4
Great!

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