Director Robert Zemeckis
Written by James V Hart & Michael Goldenberg.
Story by Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerrit, John Hurt, James Woods, Jena Malone, David Morse, William Fichtner, Geoffrey Blake, Angela Bassett, Jake Busey, Rob Lowe.
Her whole life Dr Ellie Arroway has been searching the airwaves for communication. As a child (Malone), searching over short wave radio, and as an adult (Foster), an astronomer searching the solar system for signs of other life. Her multi-year sponsorship from Billionaire (Hurt) at the New Mexico satellite array hits a snag, and days before the plug is pulled, she finds proof of life from deep in space.
I went back to watch this film after quite a number of years as I’m rewatching some mid to late 1990’s films of late. I always really enjoyed this film. I still think it is a good film, but at 2 ½ hours, it is a mountain to get through. There is indeed a pacing issue, and there could have been a bit of an edit at times.
Most of what was left in was genuinely entertaining, especially in the latter part of the third act. However for a movie that is 150 minutes long, this part of the movie feels almost rushed, and I wish we spent longer in this part. The movie is dialogue heavy, so don’t expect an action packed adventure.
I especially enjoyed the late great John Hurt as possibly the most important character in the film (?) and wish he was given more to do. Special mention to Jenna Malone, who’s career shot after this movie as the young Ellie. Now as a dad to an almost 9 year old daughter, this story arc truly tugged at the heartstrings. I’ve also always been a big David Morse fan, so they play together well.
Some amazing direction from Zemeckis (the mirror hallway scene is some mind bending film-making, and a moving score from Alan Silvestri complement the film nicely. Some of the technology, and at the time events (using the actual President at the time in stock footage) is some negativity. Other than that, I recommend this film. I would give it a 4/5