Friday 15 September 2017

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (Guardian 15/09/17)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind *****
Dir: Steven Spielberg. With: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon. 137 mins. Cert: PG

The lights in the sky have never appeared brighter. Beaming back into cinemas Monday to mark the film’s 40th anniversary, this digital restoration of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi touchstone reintroduces a genuine UFO: a bona-fide blockbuster that nevertheless operates with hushed stealth, expanding its sense of momentous events approaching from distant galaxies exponentially. No bolt-shooting pre-credits sequence here; for score, a carefully sequenced five-note motif; instead of screen-hogging CGI, a glimpse of something through a rear windscreen, then effects sculpted, more tangibly, from moulding clay and mashed potato. For some while, its noisiest locale is the Muncie, Indiana home of Richard Dreyfuss’s everyman Roy Neary, so convincingly overrun with kids, toys and media that it might drive anybody’s eyes heavenwards, or in search of escape.

That backdrop remains a significant part of Close Encounters’ genius: the depiction of Earth is so credible that we readily take the same extra-terrestrial leaps of faith as its protagonist. In a featurette playing before the rerelease, Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve argues it’s all deeply self-reflexive, a film about filmmaking (hence, perhaps, the presence of Truffaut) and the pressures of generating out-of-this-world spectacle – a line that holds if we approach Close Encounters as the tale of an obsessive struggling to preserve sanity and marriage while rallying others to share his unifying vision. Either way, the view from the mountaintop remains quite remarkable: grand celestial theatre, in which the greatest storyteller in modern movies invites us to set aside any scepticism, look up, and very simply believe

Close Encounters of the Third Kind returns to cinemas nationwide this Monday.

1 comment:

  1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

    Original 35mm Theatrical and Theater Release Print (Original Theatrical Movie Poster): Program Content, Artwork & Photography © 1977 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    The Original Uncut and Unedited Version: Program Content, Artwork & Photography © 1977 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Package Design & Summary © 1988 GoodTimes Home Video. All Rights Reserved.