The Brother From Another Planet

  • 1984
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Fantasy, Science Fiction

Still John Sayles's most provocative work, THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET blends a stock satirical premise--a look at the world through the eyes of an alien--with a runaway slave narrative, rendering a loosely constructed but keenly observed allegory of race and class in America. The Brother (Joe Morton) is an escaped slave from an unnamed planet who crash-lands...read more

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Still John Sayles's most provocative work, THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET blends a stock satirical premise--a look at the world through the eyes of an alien--with a runaway slave narrative, rendering a loosely constructed but keenly observed allegory of race and class in America. The

Brother (Joe Morton) is an escaped slave from an unnamed planet who crash-lands his space capsule off Ellis Island. Unable to speak, and marked by his ragged clothing and dark complexion, he's taken for a homeless black man; New Yorkers treat him accordingly, with reactions ranging from pity to

contempt. After some dispiriting encounters with white people, he makes his way to Harlem and ends up in a local bar. The regular patrons find him odd, to say the least, but set him up with a social worker after they discover that he can repair video games with just a touch of his hand. Hot on the

black man's trail are a pair of white aliens (David Strathairn and John Sayles) dressed in black, who aim to recapture the escapee.

Buoyed by Morton's sensitive performance, the film proceeds as a series of vignettes, some of them unforgettable. In a sequence shot on the subway, a child offers to do a magic trick for the Brother: he'll make the white riders disappear. As the train pulls into the 96th Street Station, the

whites file out and are replaced by uniformly black passengers headed uptown. It's a remarkable image of de facto racial segregation in urban America.

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  • Released: 1984
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Still John Sayles's most provocative work, THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET blends a stock satirical premise--a look at the world through the eyes of an alien--with a runaway slave narrative, rendering a loosely constructed but keenly observed allegory of r… (more)

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