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Encounter review (2021) – a disappointing experience

December 7, 2021

This review of the original Amazon movie Rencontre (2021) is spoiler-free.

Encounter has a solid premise and wickedly heroic tricks by its star, the Sound of Metal Ahmed Rice. There is nothing quite like an alien invasion movie, especially the psychological genre where the danger is specific but cannot be seen. The Michael Pearson movie has that quality, along with some of the most disturbing and frightening close-ups of alien hosts taking over the body you’ve seen in quite a while. But I kept waiting for the plot to change. The encounter remains obvious and disappointing. Suffice it to say this one bothered me.

Ahmed plays Malik Khan, a decorated Marine who left his home to pursue a secret government operation. A race of aliens is invading the planet. Microscopic that looks like insects or worms invading the host. There is only one way to know if a human is being taken care of. This happens when you see the worm-like creatures moving around in the host’s retinas (it’s super creepy and disgusting). Sadly, he has learned that his boys Jay (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby (Aditya Geddada) are in danger because his ex-wife (played by Blindspotting and The Way Back ‘s Janina Gavankar) was infected with the invading alien race.

That’s why Malik picks up a flashlight and examines his boy’s eyes as he sneaks inside the house on a rescue mission. He sprayed them with bug spray and set off on a dangerous road trip to base camp. The problem is, no one else knows about the invasion. So, an FBI agent (Rory Cochrane) and an old friend of Malik’s (Octavia Spencer) are scouring the country because they think the boys have been kidnapped.

Encounter was directed by Michael Pearce (Beast). He wrote the screenplay with scribe Joe Barton (Giri / Haji). I talked about waiting for the plot to change, which never happened. This was after a very early revelation which is pretty obvious. This prevents the script from leaving the viewer guessing what to do. It has to do with the character of Octavia Spencer. This character reveals too much if you read reviews or watch trailers.

Encounter is a strange cinematic experience. It’s engaging but loses the suspense too quickly. Still, they pair it with a beautiful evocative score by Jed Kurzel that should be placed in a better picture. The reason is that Pearce and Barton are trying to turn their movie into a human story that doesn’t work.

It’s a film that knows what it wants to be but doesn’t know how to go about it.

What did you think of the original Amazon Encounter movie (2021)? Comments below.

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