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Contact (Snap Case) (1997)

Science Fiction & Fantasy movie

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Billions and billions...

  • Dec 10, 2000
Contact is a terrific film on many levels: superficially it's beautifully photographed with ace special effects - many of them I didn't realise were special effects at all until I watched the little feature about how they were made, which surely is the acid test of how good they are.

Jodie Foster's performance as a slightly geeky (but secrety rather attractive) scientist is spot on, especially her cheeky rendition of Sagan's own goofy accent, but the remaining characters are cartoonish and a bit theme-functional: for once, the bimbo is a bloke - that Matthew McConaughey's hokey priest is Foster's love interest and intellectual adversary fits nicely with the battle of intellect vs. emotion which is waged throughout the film, but as a credible character he just doesn't stack up. The same is true of Tom Skerrit's Big Bad Boss Who's Only In It For The Glory.

For all that, you're certainly left mulling over the notion of contact, in all its manifestations (you know, with little green men, with other human beings, with your lost father, with your spiritual side etc.) throughout, and given that the author of the screenplay was a thoroughly scientific and sceptical chap, the final message is one of surprising humility and irony.

Ostensibly the conflict is between science (which needs to know The Truth, whatever the religious consequences) and blind faith. But when the arch-sceptic finally establishes (...or does she?) her argument, can she prove it to a sceptical public? Quelle dilemma! Lesson learned!

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Olly Buxton ()
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Member Since: Sep 26, 2009
Last Login: Dec 22, 2010 09:37 PM UTC
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The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis'sContactastonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these days--each is an expression of the heroine's lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl's eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)--her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination--turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand.Contacttraces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan's novel,Contactis exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from2001toThe Right Stuff. Foster's solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable--Contactis all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws,Contactdeserves recognition ...
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DVD Release Date: December 30, 1997
Runtime: 150 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video

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