I have to admit I might not have watched the screener of this if I hadn’t confused it with the 2016 film Alienated which also deals with a man try trying to get to his estranged wife during an alien invasion. This so similarly titled film deals with a couple on the verge of breaking up who’s problems are amplified when the husband photographs a UFO.
It begins with Nate listening to a conspiracy theorist on the radio going on about 9/11. He goes outside where he ends up with footage of something odd in the sky. She not only disbelieves him but refuses to look at what he’s shot. This unleashes a series of arguments ranging over their personalities and the relationship in general. And this is what most of the film consists of. Nate has a conversation with his neighbor Griffin, (Tayler Negron in his last role), who might not be able to see whats around him, but can see what’s causing Nate’s problems.
The film has been doing very well on the festival circuit which is a bit of a surprise, not because it isn’t good but because the poster is so misleading I would expect it to attract the wrong audience and leave people disappointed. It positions the film as a science fiction film when it’s actually a domestic drama, the UFO angle is just there to kick the fighting off and then reappear at the end. Those lured in by the devastated city on the poster might be seriously disappointed.
For those who’ve come to it via reviews or word of mouth and know what they’re getting this is a strong drama. The arguments feel real to the point they remind me of ones I’ve had. The two leads George Katt as Nate and Jen Burry as his wife Paige both give excellent performances as does Negron. They are the only three characters in the film so if they hadn’t delivered there would have been a real problem. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these two, indeed Jen has a role in a film that’s on my radar The Land of Smiles.
This is the second feature from writer/director Brian Ackley, his previous one Uptown also dealt with dysfunctional relationship, but not flying saucers. He’s very good conveying the situation and making us believe these are two people who have been together for years and are now falling apart. The dialogue sounds real and many of the things they argue over will be familiar to anyone who’s been in a relationship good or bad.
Alienated is an excellent drama that will hopefully manage to move beyond being a festival success and get some mainstream success, all involved with this film deserve it.