THE MAN FROM EARTH (2007) offers a mind-bending premise. What if somebody you knew told you he’d lived for more than 14,000 years?
John Oldman, a university professor, is packing up his belongings as he’s decided to leave town, something he does every 10 years or so. His colleagues surprise him at his house with a farewell party. Pressed to reveal why he’s leaving, Oldman reluctantly tells them that he’s a Cro-Magnon man who’s been alive for 14,000 years.
His colleagues play along until they see he’s serious, at which they have a variety of reactions, particularly as he becomes more and more convincing. Some enjoy the argument for what they think it is, an intellectual exercise. Some are outright hostile and think he’s either overplaying a joke or is having some sort of mental breakdown. And at least one becomes convinced. As there is really no way to determine if he’s telling the truth, it all becomes a matter of faith.
Then Oldman offers a terrifying revelation, pushing some of them to the edge of reason.
It’s an interesting movie with a great premise. Though all set in a single location and comprised almost entirely of dialogue, the film captures you. That being said, I found some of it weak. The big revelation is provocative but not that much so, and is in fact based on a historical theory that doesn’t hold up. The colleagues often overreact, which I suppose keeps a dialogue-intensive movie going, though it reminded me I was watching a movie. The second big revelation is a great a-ha moment but also so coincidental as to be contrived, particularly after the first revelation.
Overall, it’s an interesting film, an intriguing thought piece, but not particularly mind-blowing. I liked it and appreciated it for what it was–a movie about an idea, something rare these days.