The Man from Earth (2007) – 3/5

Poorly written/acted/directed film that still manages to stay somewhat interesting thanks to its unique, simplistic story and a charismatic, world-weary performance from its lead David Lee Smith, a talented guy I had never heard of before. The man is forced to carry the thing on his back, single-handedly, and does a pretty good job of it for the most part, reminding me a bit of Jon Hamm at times, only, you know, good. He’s the only truly believable character in the film, which is ironic given the story that unfolds.

The directing and writing, though, are pretty bad, especially at the beginning. Relationships are forced, situations feel contrived, and the dialogue is generally very badly written, but only during moments that attempt to establish the relationships these characters have with one another. Whenever the film focuses on the main character and his backstory, it’s interesting. Whenever it doesn’t, it’s a crappy, clichéd, melodramatic mess.

And the acting at times, god. Stiff, cheesy deliveries all around, not because all the actors are bad necessarily, but because I suspect there was simply little to nothing there for them to work with. The film exists for the primary purpose of exploring its unique concept: that our main character may or may not be immortal. Everything else is irrelevant, even the  believability of the other characters as living, breathing human beings.

Overall, the film has serious issues: the writing and directing are terrible, the acting is stiff, and some of the stuff revealed at the end doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But the film also has its moments: the lead character is pretty good despite some of the dialogue he’s forced to deliver, and the story, when all is said and done, is very interesting. It is an enjoyable film, flaws and all, but it would have been quite something had it been handled better, maybe rewritten a few times, with a specific emphasis on fleshing out these characters and giving them some believable dialogue here and there. It’s never boring, at least. A good example of a great concept poorly executed. Not terrible, but not as great as it could have been.

 

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  1. Good Review. Some God-awful acting and dialogue, and yet I still watched it.

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