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Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Neither Heaven Nor Earth' DVD: Sci Fi Meets War Drama


The December 6, 2016 Film Movement DVD release of the 2015 French drama "Neither Heaven Nor Earth," which is the November 2016 selection of the uber-awesome Movement Film of the Month Club, both continues the Movement custom of genre-themed series and shows that the stuff of big-studio Hollywood can be artistic in the right hands. The numerous festival awards for "Earth" demonstrates that is not your daddy's Army soldiers mysteriously disappear in the blink of an eye movie.

This combination of scifi and social commentary makes "Earth" a perfect companion to the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Film Movement Classics Blu-ray release of the 1985 New Zealand cult classic scifi drama "The Quiet Earth."

The very aptly limboesque titled "Earth" centers around French Army Captain Bonassieu and his soldiers, who have the dual duty of watching out for Taliban activity and looking out for the (not-so-grateful) locals in the nearby village close to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. The tensions of the situation greatly escalate on two soldiers disappearing while on night duty at an outpost. The immediate results of the ensuing investigation show that it is virtually impossible that the men would have left undetected.

The angst related to this incident extends beyond an unexplained absence of members of the group; the suspicion regarding the involvement of the villagers in this disappearance amps up the hostility on both sides.

Additional soldiers going missing under even more unlikely circumstances alone brings Bonassieu and his soldiers even closer to the edge of insanity; learning that villagers are also disappearing and that the Army men are the prime suspects regarding that mystery further amps up the tension.

A local boy telling the soldiers a story about Allah spiriting away those who sleep on His land contributes to both the mystery and the scifi element of "Earth." The ensuing investigation by Bonassieu brings the movie fully into "The Twilight Zone" territory.

The solution to the odd goings-on is very consistent with the psychological drama that pervades "Earth." It nicely combines the elements of serving in wartime, contending with hostile (and restless) natives, and being in a foreign land with strange lore.

Movement further continues its tradition of perfectly pairing Club selections with a short film. The offering this time is the French drama "Among Us." This time an illegal immigrant who repeatedly tries to stow away encounters mysterious goings on in the woods in which he and his peers reside.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Earth" or "Among" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.