Based on a Carl Sagan novel, Contact is pure perfection and one of my favorite movies. Even Matthew McConaughey was really good as a man of the cloth, probably because he’s religious himself. Granted, I revisited this review after the release of True Detective, and the only thing that I can say about Matthew is that he’s a phenomenal and very talented actor.
Robert Zemeckis showed that after Forrest Gump he can still make great serious movies. With a relatively big-budget Contact could afford awesome special effects, that survived the test of time and still look amazing. But that is only one small part of this movie, a much bigger issue is the so-called battle between science and religion. And, furthermore, how it relates to us as persons and our progress. I’m feeling so overwhelmed by this movie that I’m going to skip my planned religion rant.
So, you can already guess that Contact is a very thought-provoking movie. A movie that will make read the book, and after that make you smarter. I could go on and on, talking about different aspects of it but all of them share a similar trait: realism. Scientific realism. And this resonates with your rational part of the personality, like a fucking reverberating cascade.
Dr. Ellie Arroway is an astronomer trying to find out is there an alien civilization out there, in the vastness of space. She does this by listening to radio waves and searching for patterns. She is not supported by many, who trivialize her pursuit of extraterrestrials dismissing it as science fiction. But, when she suddenly hears a very disturbing sequence of sounds the tables will turn.
Now, that sequence of sounds truly sounds horrifying. Give the man who was in charge of sound effects a fucking medal. Furthermore, the same goes for stunning special effects showcasing just how good CGI was in the late nineties. I mean, that opening scene is simply mesmerizing showing us the true scale of the universe. I remember watching for the first time with my mouth fully open like I’m going to swallow my box tv.
With a running time of two and a half hours, Contact is going to take up your whole evening. And it’s going to be fucking worth it. It’s different than a slew of overwhelmingly commercial and yet still pretty good science fiction movies of the nineties. Movies like Sphere, Gattaca, Stargate, Screamers, and Strange Days. And I’m not even going to mention all the big ones you’re all aware of. I do, however, have to mention The Arrival starring Charlie Sheen and featuring a similar plot.
Finally, I would just like to add that I found Contact immensely inspiring and life-affirming. The way that the story slowly expands from a single, seemingly insignificant individual to the whole fucking universe is simply breathtaking. And you know the science you’re going to be seeing in this movie is as close to reality as it can get. Kind of like when you’re reading Clarke or Asimov and you get that tingling feeling all over your body. Or is it just me?
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: James V. Hart, Michael Goldenberg, Carl Sagan
Cast: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, David Morse, William Fichtner, Tom Skerritt
Fun Facts: In 2011, Jodie Foster was part of a group of private donors that saved SETI’s telescope array in California.