Alien (1979), staring my beloved acting coach Tom Skerritt and Sigourney Weaver, pulsed with trepidation, the stuff of true horror flicks. The magic is in the mystery, as they say. You wait for so long and see so little, but the heart races and pounds with increased dramatic irony because we don’t know what’s around that corner. This film holds back and reveals in the same widescreen way. It’s the stuff of true cinema, storm theory included.
It is Michael Fassbender‘s character, David, who throws the greatest wrench into plot give-aways and best guess-ables. He is the mimic, the learner, the emotionless android. It’s unclear until the end whether his character is friend or foe, hero or psychopath. He is, after all, the gateway opener, the translator, the well-studied journeyman, the outsider. His story is the most fascinating and most detailed. David would have been a fun character to write and act for these reasons. His character obsesses over Peter O’Toole‘s title role in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The parallels in place sync as they should, just as Damon Lindelof, writer of the Lost tv series, plans. Scott executes scenes with cinematic beauty and brilliance.
Oh, it’s gross. Don’t get me wrong. It wouldn’t be a precursor to Alien (1979) if it didn’t have its exploding heads, strange alien worms, an entire abdominal surgery, and a dangerous woman-with-ax sequence. It’s so classic it works. I can’t wait to see it again, and now I’ll know when to close my eyes.
Watch for: the halo crowning the virgin mother figure, the storm, the sly finger in the glass, and so much more. Stay alert. The clues are everywhere.
Retraction Note: My sincere apologies to the descendants of Peter O’Toole. I meant NO disrespect when I originally noted Sir Lawrence Olivier in the title role of Lawrence of Arabia. I’m afraid I did not do my homework. Thanks to the kind reader who set me straight.