review by Bobby Blakey
I love movies that blur the lines of truth and lies especially when it features a sci-fi twist. The latest film Encounter starring Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, and Rory Cochrane from director Michael Pearce looks to do just that. Could this film bring an invasion worth fighting against or will it be more than your mind can handle?
Encounter follows decorated Marine Malik Khan, desperate to save his two young sons, Jay and Bobby, from a mysterious threat, packs them in a car and sets off on a perilous journey across the western U.S. But while racing toward a secret military base in Nevada that may hold the key to safety, the trio encounters danger at every turn. Staying one step ahead of a group of government agents, Malik and the boys find themselves bonding in unexpected ways. As their relentless pursuers close in, and with time quickly running out, each of them must confront hard truths about the world, forcing Jay and Bobby to leave their childhoods behind.
I didn’t know much about this film, but have become a fan of star Riz Ahmed since his addition to the Star Wars universe with Rogue One and even more so in his brilliant turn in the film Sound of Metal. Once again he gives yet another brilliant performance that is layered in fear, paranoia, pain, laughter and loss. He leads the charge to perfection alongside the two young actors, Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada who play his sons. They are a bit annoying at times like most kids, but they hold their own alongside Ahmed well.
The story itself is a mixed bag depending on how you feel about its direction. The vibe reminded me of the 2006 film Bug that I love in its paranoia. While not overly exciting, it is compelling throughout, but does shift tone in the third act that might lose some. While dealing with the invasion element there is also another side of PTSD, family drama and a struggle to bond. This makes for a great movie overall, but some twists and turns that keep you guessing to what is real and what’s not may be the dividing factor to viewers.