Theatrical Review: The Fourth Kind

Taken at face value, The Fourth Kind reports to be about a series of incidents that lead to the idea of alien abduction located around the Nome, Alaska area. A Nome psychiatrist, Dr. Abigail Tyler has found that some of her patients have some commonalities in their lack of sleep and the strange things that they experience through that, and further, before this, her husband had been mysteriously murdered and is now effectively a cold case. Her husband, also a psychiatrist, had been looking into the same matters, that Abigail now continues. This is all told, or rather sold, to you in a manner that basically purports it all to be real and the proof being the use of actual video footage and recordings conducted by Abigail Tyler. this even goes a step further, when at the start of the movie, actress Milla Jovovich steps in front and center, tells you she’s actress Milla Jovovich playing this character with everything else all around it being real…

Now you know what, I could really give a damn if it’s real or not, I knew a little about this going in to see it, but it was very little. Had this really and truly been totally based on “real” events, with “real” audio tapes and video tapes to support what it’s telling you, then wow… it’s an amazing story. If it’s all been cocked-up to sell an entertainment experience, that’s fine too, it’s not the first time something like this has been done in movies and undoubtedly it won’t be the last, what will matter is if you have a good time with it while it’s there, and I did. And for the record, it is all cocked up, just based around a series of disappearances that had happened in Nome throughout a period of time as it’s starting point.

Lots of comparisons have been made with movies like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project though probably a more apt movie to compare it to would be a little seen film called The Last Broadcast which does what this movie does, intermixes it’s “real” audio and footage with filmed stuff that fills in the blanks. This goes a step further, employing lots of split screen tactics with both on-screen at once, the director, Olatunde Osunsanmi being on-screen and conducting his interview with the “real” Abigail Tyler and even pointing out to you through on-screen credits when an actor is portraying a “real” character- not just with Jovovich, but also with Elias Koteas, Will Patton and Hakeem Kae-Kazim, all playing characters that further support the “facts” of this situation.

The Fourth KInd is pretty slow-paced starting off, and then moves into it’s own brand of overdrive about 60% of the way through with a couple of different jump moments. There’s certainly conviction from all of it’s principals, in particularly Jovovich and Patton, and that certainly furthers the salesmanship and basically I found this to be an overall entertaining experience, a nice diversion for a little over 90 minutes. If it matters to you about the “reality” of the situation, then I’d probably say that it’s best to not even bother. I like movies with gimmicks though and this one is about as gimmicked-up as it can get and though it may not be the absolute best as one of these films that blurs the line, I thought it was entertaining and certainly worth a look, if not in the theatre then on home video later, that is as long as you’re willing to be taken for a ride…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

22. November 2009 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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