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**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) was born a radio ham. Her dad encouraged her. She grew up into an aggressive scientist with a burning desire to discover sounds of alien life in the far reaches of Arthur C Clarke's sky. For years, there's nothing coming back and the only action is her perennial battle for funds.

Finally, it arrives, that different hum, and with it pictures of hieroglyphics that, once decoded, are plans for a monstrous space capsule, costing a third of a trillion dollars to build, which might take an astronaut to the star, Vega.

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Director Robert Zemeckis repeats his Forrest Gump trick by inserting high ranking media folk as themselves, with Bill Clinton up close and personal, to give the film an aura of import. It is only at the launch that tension interrupts the yawning seriousness of the mission.

Vegan revelations are a steal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sentimentality washes over the cold, technical body of the screenplay. Someone should tell Foster to loosen up.

What does Ellie learn about the wide black yonder?

"The only thing we've found to make the loneliness bearable is each other."

Hug a friend.

Reviewed on: 30 Apr 2007
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A radio ham finds proof of aliens.
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Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, James V. Hart, Michael Goldenberg

Starring: Jena Malone, David Morse, Jodie Foster, Geoffrey Blake, William Fichtner, Sami Chester, Timothy McNeil, Laura Elena Surillo, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, Henry Strozier

Year: 1997

Runtime: 153 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: USA

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Close Encounters Of The Third Kind