Contact (1997)

Contact (1997)

1997 | PG | 150 Minutes

Science Fiction | Drama | Mystery

Contact is a science fiction film about an encounter with alien intelligence. Based on the novel by Carl Sagan the film starred Jodie Foster as the one chosen scientist who must make some difficult...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Contact creatively communicates faith through science and mathematics. A universal language that transcends both time and space. One that enables any civilisation to communicate with another. Sure, colossal radars and technological innovations are required to personify these signals in an attempt to contact intelligent life, but the premise remains the same throughout. It's not evidence that drives us. The need for proof. It's not even the sense of achievement. It's faith. Whether we believe in a supreme being or not, faith is in all of us. When things go awry, we rely on the smallest ounce of belief. Zemeckis' epitome of 90s science fiction uniquely explores this, albeit occasionally heavy handedly. A scientist finds strong evidence of extraterrestrial life and makes a case for being the chosen human to make first contact. The duality between science and religion, including its cultural conflicts, is the spine of the narrative. Traversing the idea that if intelligent life did exist, does that diminish the existence of God? Several perspectives are portrayed, from the hysterical to the cynical. However, it's the protagonist's faith that is tested to which we see a great deal of development. She puts her faith in the aliens when a set of instructions are subliminally communicated to us, although conveniently solved. Foster was excellent in portraying this, acting as both passionate and fragile. Woods and Fichtner also deserve some credit, whilst McConaughey's performance was slightly lacklustre. Zemeckis' focus on visual effects, especially in the mesmerising third act, adds that layer of mysticism. Enhancing the enigmatic story even further. Yet, the selection questioning scene, which highlighted the protagonist's atheism, was too obvious in presenting its themes and felt unnecessary. Also, after the climactic ending, the fact that her recording device recorded static for 18 hours removes any ambiguity that the film wanted to present. An open conclusion is absolutely suitable for science fiction, and I wish Zemeckis was brave enough to retain that ambiguity. Still, a glorious philosophical journey.