The Visit: An Alien Encounter
Directed by Michael Madsen
“This film documents an event that has never taken place…” With unprecedented access to the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs, leading space scientists and space agencies, The Visit explores humans’ first encounter with alien intelligent life and thereby humanity itself. “Our scenario begins with the arrival. Your arrival.”
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★★★½ review by Shaun Deegan on Letterboxd
As intriguing an experiment this is, there is a ceiling on what can be said about it. Even gathering together some of the world's greatest minds can only offer so much towards a hypothetical. Sure, it's all interesting stuff, I was certainly into it, but no matter the subject, at some point, all of the talking heads just start to echo each other. I couldn't help but feel like this would have been better served as a short film, running at about half the length of this. The thesis ends up being pretty simple when you get right down to it: We need to learn how to look past ourselves to truly engage with something new. And there are only so many ways to say that.
The whole this is beautifully shot and has an eerie, "alien" feel to it. There's a sense of terrifying wonder in all of the visual compositions that felt appropriate. As amazing as the concept of making contact would be, it would also be terrifying in equal measure. I think the film did a good job of getting that across.
Just as an aside, I think it would have been interesting to take all of this footage and present the film as actual fact. Well, relatively speaking. Something like Lake Mungo, which never points out that it's fiction and was well made enough to keep you wondering if you didn't know better.
I enjoyed it, myself, but I imagine that the audience for it will be pretty limited. It's a cool thought experiment made into a film.
★★★★ review by Skovmand on Letterboxd
The documentary version of Arrival. Really liked most of it, though it did have a few moments of making some rather banal points about human nature and some clichéed music choices.
★★★★½ review by Sam Hughes on Letterboxd
Just as much an art film as it a documentary. This film is scary in the fact that you’re left with more unanswered questions than you began with. I’d recommend this not for anyone just interested in the idea of E.T life, but for anyone interested in the psychology of human beings.
★★★½ review by Evan Luxenberg on Letterboxd
The Visit: An Alien Encounter is a documentry-style film depicting the reaction of humanity to extraterrestrial life landing on Earth. It includes interviews with government officials, scientists and more.
The Visit is an extremely unique film. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. It's a documentary, but it's not. It's difficult to explain this film. Imagine of the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey had a baby with The Tree of Life and pooped out a documentary. This would be that documentary.
The film is not for everybody. It is ridiculously artsy, which is both its strength and a weakness. There are random shots of hands and objects scattered throughout the interviews. It was cool, but got confusing at a point.
It was always interesting though. When I wasn't sitting in my seat wondering why there was a bizarre shot of a rotting Egyptian corpse, I was invested in these interviews. They were smartly edited, making the whole film feel like a journey. When the film drew to a close, I found myself questioning humanity, life and existence. Rarely have I ever done that after a movie.
The main reason The Visit doesn't get a higher rating is that it was simply too slow. A solid twenty minutes could have been cut, and I kept looking at my watch near the end.
The Visit: An Alien Encounter is overly artsy, slow and very unique. However, it is impressive and poses questions about life that I haven't seen a film do in years. Be warned, the film isn't for everybody, but I do recommend it.
★★★½ review by Thanlis on Letterboxd
Conceptually interesting, not as deep as it thought it was. Yes, people who've spent most of their lives in study tend to want more information.
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