Part disturbing documentary, part straight-ahead movie-making, The Fourth Kind is difficult to watch, difficult to understand and difficult to recommend.
Milla Jovovich plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychologist in Nome, Alaska, who is abducted by aliens. So are many of her patients.
Critically acclaimed character actor Elias Koteas plays a psychologist friend trying to help Jovovich’s Tyler come to terms with the death of her husband. Will Patton does a just-the-facts-bury-his-head-in-the-sand sheriff.
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First, you need a definition. Most of us know the alien contact definition list. First contact is visual. Second contact is physical evidence such as crop circles or burn marks. Contact of the third kind is a direct physical encounter — or meeting an alien face-to-what passes as a face.
Fourth contact is abduction.
Conspiracy theorists say Nome and the surrounding area is a kidnap shopping center for UFOs. During the past 40 years, there has been a lot of inexplicable death and people going missing around Nome. Tyler — if she is a real person and some speculate she isn’t — says this is because they are being grabbed and tortured by aliens.
Writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi intertwines real-life interviews and filmed experiences of Tyler and her clients into staged scenes with actors. In her interview, Dr. Tyler contends she is one of the abductees.
The real-life sequences are truly frightening — if they are true. That’s where you’ll struggle. Scenes where Tyler and the others recall their experiences all have pretty much the same look which leads skeptics — and I’ll admit I’m one — to think the film is more like The Blair Witch Project than the truth.
And Osunsanmi’s understanding of the recording of sound is amateur. Thinking that whispering actors will give this compelling story more impact. Important clumps of his interpretation of events are mumbled away by actors whispering their lines.
That makes The Fourth Kind film-making of the worst kind.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and themes. It opens Friday, Nov. 6 at Regal’s Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.