Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Andromeda Strain (1971) - alien microorganism meets minimalist design

   Classic science fiction thriller directed by Robert Wise and based on the novel by Michael Crichton (which I've not read). The first time I saw this I found it quite frightening and tension filled. I've seen it a few times since the 1970s (once every 10 years or so) and it gets a little less frightening each time. There are still some rather chilling moments though. My favorite scene is when they are scanning the satellite for the source of the contamination. I still find it wonderfully spooky, but in a nice subtle way.

   Starring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson and Kate Reid, who are all fine.  It's a slow moving film, with lots of detail concerning the underground facility. What I was particularly drawn to this most recent of viewings was the design of the facility. The sets are really nice and use a minimum of bells and whistles. In fact it's downright spare, at times reminding me of minimalist art.

Levels are color coded.

On the way to be decontaminated. Compare the minimal design to that below.

Installation by minimalist artist John McCracken
   Overall a cool looking movie with some chilling scenes, decent acting, and excellent direction and set design. I'll probably watch it again in another 10 years. Good stuff.

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