Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Netflix streaming must-see -- EXTINCTION gives the idea of the "other" a real workout

Gosh, do we need a movie like this one now. In our age of Trump-fueled hatred toward anyone who's different  -- Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and whoever else is not white shite -- along comes EXTINCTION, a new film from director Ben Young and writers Spenser CohenBrad Caleb Kane, and perhaps Eric Heisserer (who. if so, now goes uncredited on the IMDB), that gives "the other" the kind of workout this subject has not had in quite some time.

Extinction effectively turns inside out our expectations and assumptions and in the process forces us as gently and completely as possible to embrace that other because we have already so firmly put ourselves in its place.  This is an accomplishment I can't recall another movie managing, and certainly not this well. This is due to the smart script and direction but also to the fine performances of its leading characters, a father and mother -- played by Michael Peña and Lizzy Caplan (above and below) -- of a family under siege from alien invaders.

Though the movie begins with our hero having dreams about the very thing that's about to happen -- which already sounds a bit been-there-done-that -- once reality has made it self clear, so many plot points are suddenly explained that don't simply make sense but also seem to be an especially clever manner in which to have conceived and executed the story.

How good it is to see Mr. Peña in a leading role as a smart, caring family man. He's a perfect "everyman," which is just what the role needs, and Ms Caplan adds her usual spunk and charm to the proceedings. The scene in which the two of them first meet is as graceful, lovely and warm as anything you'll have seen -- and twice that, given the context here.

The supporting cast is fine, too, with Israel Broussard a standout as the unusual character named Miles with whom our current President could never begin to understand or identify. I hope I have not said too much already to result in a spoiler. Just stick Extinction on your Netflix queue and watch it ASAP. You're in for a wild action ride, especially in the first half of the film, and then, in the latter half, oh, boy. 
Oooooooooh, boy.

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