Friday, December 3, 2021

A vet battles alien microbes — and PTSD


Somewhere in Encounter, there's a good movie, but -- as the saying goes -- I'm not sure director Michael Pearce found it. Riz Ahmed plays a former Marine who has seen too much combat and decides that he must rescue his two sons (Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada) from being infected by an alien invasion that has arrived in the form of "non-terrestrial microbes." Ahmed's Malik snatches his two sons from their mother and stepfather and begins a road trip. Ahmed (Sound of Metal) engages as a man who either is a super-protective father or an emotionally damaged vet suffering from terrible PTSD. The young actors hold up their ends and Pearce offers up some impressive images. Octavia Spencer signs on as the parole officer for Ahmed's Malik. He'd been in jail for striking an officer and was dishonorably discharged from the surface. As the story progresses, we learn more about Malik's history. But the movie begins as a sci-fi thriller and morphs into something else, leaving it to us to find the proper point of view from which to see the movie's increasingly tense events. The most touching thing about Encounter involves watching two young people trying to figure out their father's strange behavior. Overall, though, a missed opportunity.

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