Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Film , Science fiction
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(6 user reviews)
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Steven Spielberg's masterpiece about an ordinary man confronted with out-of-this-world forces

Not too long ago, Steven Spielberg went public with his regrets about the climax of his 1977 science-fiction masterpiece ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. As a husband and father, he says he no longer believes in the story of a man who abandons his family to explore the stars. And he’s got a point. For all its dewey-eyed optimism regarding creatures from another world, ‘Close Encounters’ is pretty uncomfortable with the inhabitants of this one.

Everyman hero Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) may be a loveable, star-gazing dreamer, but his wife is a nag who doesn’t understand him, his kids are shrieking pre-pubescent lunatics and let’s not even start on the shady military types who start nosing around following Roy’s night-time run-in with a flying saucer.

This lurking emotional discomfort is just one of the fascinating things about ‘Close Encounters’. Sure, the story’s thrilling and the set-piece special effects are still unrivalled – the mothership cresting Devil’s Tower stands as one of the few literally jawdropping moments in cinema. But all these years later, it’s the tricky personal stuff that makes the film remarkable: the depiction of a man crumbling under the pressure of forces he can’t understand; the riotous, relatable scenes of madcap family life; the sense that it’s a film as much about the pressures of creative inspiration as alien contact.

Those pressures may be why ‘Close Encounters’ remains the only film credited to Spielberg as sole writer and director. Given that it’s his greatest work, we can only imagine what could’ve resulted if he’d sharpened his pencils more often

Release details

Release date: Friday May 27 2016
Duration: 135 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss
Fran├žois Truffaut
Teri Garr
Melinda Dillon
Bob Balaban
Warren Kemmerling

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
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ari-free

No, the Emperor really isn't wearing anything. Close Encounters just another boring, overhyped movie that only pretentious people will claim to 'like.'

Derek

I can't even begin to say what is wrong with Roy's review. Did you watch the same film that I did? This film is a classic in every way. It brilliantly builds tension and expectation, whilst offering a totally believable take on what could have been a completely unbelievable story. The acting is uniformly superb and compliments the sense of wonder generated by Spielberg's excellent direction. However, I can understand that the film may seem long to a generation used to MTV-style editing, often used to cover up failings in plotting, directing and pace. Fortunately, we have this wonderful movie to remind us of how films can touch and move the viewers without telling them how they should be feeling at every moment. A great film in every way, and one that Spielberg is still striving to better.

Derek

I can't even begin to say what is wrong with Roy's review. Did you watch the same film that I did? This film is a classic in every way. It brilliantly builds tension and expectation, whilst offering a totally believable take on what could have been a completely unbelievable story. The acting is uniformly superb and compliments the sense of wonder generated by Spielberg's excellent direction. However, I can understand that the film may seem long to a generation used to MTV-style editing, often used to cover up failings in plotting, directing and pace. Fortunately, we have this wonderful movie to remind us of how films can touch and move the viewers without telling them how they should be feeling at every moment. A great film in every way, and one that Spielberg is still striving to better.