freely on the novel of the same title by the late Carl Sagan, Contact
takes the audience for a ride on a topic that each of us has asked oneself at
least once: what would the first intelligent message from outer space be? Boasting
a superb cast with a traditionally stunning performance from Jodie Foster,
this movie is surely a fine addition to any collection.
Contact is the story of Dr. Ellie Arroway, a radioastronomer who,
after searching for extraterrestrial intelligence in vain for many years, becomes
the first human to receive an artificial radio signal from outside of our solar
system. A battle then evolves as to the deciphering of the coded message and the
selection of the rightful candidate to answer back.
the primary issue addressed by this flick is the first contact between humans
and aliens. Contact brings the viewer to understand the fundamental
importance of the discovery of alien intelligence, whether it be social or philosophical,
religious or political, and develops this significance into today's world reactions
to such a find. The scope of responses and events will leave no-one saying: "But
what if they had done..."
This movie also focuses on us and our human behaviors. Throughout the movie,
we are presented with many natural human states of mind and opportunist actions
common amongst groups of individuals who seek a goal that only a few can reach,
as in politics, entertainment and business hierarchies. Contact therefore
serves as a mirror of society where its major flaws and colors are rendered stunningly
apparent. Arrogance, treachery, egoism, back stabbing, manipulation, all negative
yet subtle character traits are amplified and shot against the "pure"
Ellie Arroway who, at opposite, never used such foxy techniques and portrays the
innocence of a child looking at an adult's world.
third and quite important aspect is the relation between Humanity and God and
His Creation. Without focussing on a specific faith, Contact achieves
brilliantly to close the ever-growing gap between religion and science by helping
to see reasons beyond physical evidences. Few movies would be ready to venture
onto such a taboo issue and Contact succeeds at building a bridge
without insulting any beliefs.
If you enjoyed movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) that leave you thinking
"How will first contact be like?" then Contact is definitely
for you. The only question remains "When?"
Review by René-Marc Simard.