Phenomenon

Film

Science fiction

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Time Out says

Despite an intriguing premise and a strong opening, this allegory about the limits of human intelligence goes seriously pear-shaped in the middle. Struck by heavenly (or is it alien?) light, auto mechanic George Malley acquires a voracious intellect and an ability to absorb facts and ideas. At first these gifts provide trivial entertainment and practical solutions to everyday problems, but once the novelty wears off, his small-town neighbours start to worry. As with his Jamaican bobsled comedy, Cool Runnings, director Turteltaub's film soon slips into inspirational mode, allowing subtle performances to be overshadowed by a hyperbolic score and a desperate straining for cosmic significance. Not even Travolta's bold performance as the brilliant but bewildered George, skillfully treading the line between affecting naivety and cloying sentimentality, can survive this deluge of mawkishness.
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Release details

UK release:

1996

Duration:

124 mins

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