In a line: To be nominated for the Nobels rather than the Oscars.
When I die and am in the gates of heaven/hell (suppose), if I am allowed to carry one object from earth along with me to my afterlife, then most definitely, without an iota of doubt, it would be the DVD of the movie, The Man From Earth. Most definitely I would also smuggle Saving Private Ryan with me but that's for a separate post. But even if the advanced scanners and detectors of St.Michael detect my mischief and if forced to comply, then I would give SPR a pass for the sake of TMFE ( please bear with the acronyms) . Because seldom do we come across a one and a half hour movie that has been written(crafted would be apt) by an acclaimed writer (Jerome Bixby - the brain behind Star Trek) for forty years, completed only on his deathbed through oration, with just eight characters throughout the movie, with Beethoven as a musician, filmed within 1200 sq.ft or less, marketed by BitTorrent, a $20,000 budget, no CGIs and yet keep us engaged for the whole 89 minutes. Phew!! I need to go get some water. That's quite an impressive resume.
The plot is nothing but an extended schmooze between a group of eight colleagues who have gathered in the protagonist, John Oldman's house for his sendoff party. The rest of the group seem intrigued by the fact that John is reluctant to discuss the reason for his sudden departure. This clique of friends are proficient authorities (professors) in their respective fields ranging from anthropology and archeology to christian literature and psychology. As with all experts they always find the answer one way or the other and John relents under their intense prying and opens up. What follows in the next 70 odd minutes, baffles his friends and takes them (also us) on a roller coaster ride from Relativity, Cell regeneration and Buddha to finally Christ , filling every gap in the known and unknown history of mankind. Even Krishna, Columbus, VanGogh and Hercules get to do a small cameo.
Spoiler Alert: Since the suspense is revealed within the first five minutes, I think it wont be a sin to reveal some truth. Moreover the real deal is the film after the revelation and hence you wont lose anything. Conservatives who believe in the virginity of a film, please skip the rest of the post and watch the movie.
John reveals that he is a magdalenian cave man belonging to the later cro-magnon period of upper paleolithic (quite a mouthful) culture and that he has managed to survive and remain till now due to maybe, some perfect cell regeneration and waste elimination by his body. He never ages and always looks 35 and whenever his current set of friends find it quite odd that he never gets old, he moves on, changing his identity in the process and thereby avoiding limelight. Sounds unbelievable? If you had been following the news lately you would not be so surprised. Remember Prof. Rama Krishnan - the guy who won the Nobel prize in chemistry and who later regretted winning the medal because we Indians started spamming his mailbox? His work was on telemeres - an advanc...ok!!I will stop. I guess you get it. Without getting too technical, I would point the naysayers to this and this.
He gives a quite convincing explanation for all the questions and queries posed by his friends who initially think of it as a joke. But as the answers sound more and more convincing and plausible some begin to believe him, while the rest become enraged for taking the prank too long. John entrenches himself and destroys the ramparts of theist beliefs with a barrage of facts. Without anymore further disclosure, I would let you enjoy the movie by yourself.
Usually while seeing a movie, irrespective of good or bad, I look for some catchy, thought provoking lines which I could use for some cheap WOWs in my real life :-). With this movie that job has been become a lot more tougher- Damn! I cant memorize the whole movie :-(. Some interesting selections:
Edith: Yeah, there's writing on the back of the painting in french. Oh, "To my friend Jacques Borne." Wonder who that was?
John : Someone he knew, I guess.
Harry: Brilliant deduction, sherlock!
Linda: Were you...I guess... a medicine man?
John: I was a shaman a few times. I revealed some truths to eat a little better.
Edith:You think that's all religion is about...selling hope and survival?
John:The old testament sells fear and guilt. The new testament is a good code of ethics, put into God's mouth by poets and philosophers, that are much smarter than God himself. The message is never practiced. Fairy tales just build churches.
As our superstar says, "Ithu just trailer thaan ma, main picture neen innum paakkala!!" (This is just the trailer, you haven't seen the whole movie), the whole movie is sprinkled with wise cracks and intelligent repartees, its kind of like a dream date, whatever that is (Megan Fox for boys and ______* for girls?). If you think that was all, there is a nice little romance, very subtle( not the lip locking type) and not very blatant. Also there is a nice little twist towards the end too. Finally at the end of the movie you would get up from your chairs feeling a lot more lighter (except you, Gopal ) and atleast a dozen of IQ points smarter. Really!! I recommend you to take an IQ test before and after the movie (not the same questions of course) and tell me how the results show up. I am pretty sure the progress will be palpable.
And one more thing! Like all pessimistic reviewers, I tried looking for one negative aspect and guess what? I found one. The girls in the movie exist just for the eyeball pleasing factor. One cute young girl (which is a mandatory for any script) has been thrust as a Professor's girl friend and another just does the romancing and the food serving. The cute girl is in fact cuter than Drew Barrymore(see video for proof). Finally there is a female biblical professor who is in no mood for intelligent inquisition and is just peeved by the profanation of Christianity. Why is that is up for debate between chauvinists and feminists.
* Please choose the right answer: (a) Santa (b) Sandy (c) Lechi (d) I will better go hang myself
PS: This movie is available in (maybe only) all torrent sites and since the producer himself has thanked peer- peer file sharing networks for their contribution, I don't think it will be illegal to get the movie from there, Yay!!