Was author Whitley Strieber telling the truth about extraterrestrial visitations in his bestselling book, Communion? Perhaps no one can really prove or disprove it, making the enigma of Strieber himself more interestin... more »g than his allegations. That's precisely the angle taken by this film adaptation, in which Christopher Walken's richly eccentric performance becomes a fascinating portrait of something more important than rumors of alien abduction--that is, human resistance and surrender to transformation. The script does an end run around the deductive process and research Strieber employed in his book to substantiate his claims. Instead, the story concentrates on the impact of those experiences on Strieber's own psyche: the disbelief, the repressed memories, the mounting helplessness and futility as the years go by. Walken makes it all terribly compelling, from his childlike compliance to the diminutive aliens who turn up in his home at night to an unexpected story climax in which Strieber demystifies the little buggers on his own surprisingly comic terms. The supporting cast is terrific, including Lindsay Crouse as Strieber's concerned wife, Frances Sternhagen as a doctor, and Joel Carlson as Strieber's son. This is not an offering that panders to today's alleged abductees, but rather a study of a sole survivor who finds his peace on his own terms. --Tom Keogh« less
Walken gives a convincing performance, but who's convinced?
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie,"Communion",which is based on a contoversial New York Times bestseller by the same name, is in no respects as convincing as the novel written by author Whitley Strieber. Strieber's novel and movie both tell the "true" story of his personal encounters with apparent aliens, which Strieber has coined the term "visitors" when refering to them. The movie lacks in several departments. One, obviously, is the budget(or lack there of) which takes away from the movies ability to portray realistic aliens or visitors, or whatever they are. The aliens, which are now easily recognized by there large black eyes in modern American pop culture, look in this movie quite literally like cheap rubber balloons.(probably because that's what they are)Strieber's book however, does not have the need for cheesy props to convey his story in convincing detail; probably the reason people had an interest in his book, back in 1987. Ask anyone though,who has read his next several books on the same subject; if they are capable of thinking logically,they will most likely tell you about the steady flow of contradictions ever present in his writing.This brings us to a second flaw in the movie, which is: Strieber spins a tale to the movies viewers which is sketchy at best. On one hand, we are led to believe the visitors are aliens in big bright spaceships, who stick needles in Whitley's brain. On the flip side of the coin, the movie suggests the visitors are actually the physical manefistation of human evolution, or some weird metaphysical thing like that. So which is it? One of the few saving graces of the film however, is Christopher Walken's portrayel of a confused and frightened Whitley Strieber. Walken's performance is excellent as always, and may be the only thing keeping the movie going. I give "Communion" three stars. One for Walken's performance, the second for what I must admit to be a fairly entertaining story(especially if you are a fan of Strieber's work); and the last for a very good transition of the confusing and contradictory aspects of the book to film. Don't watch "Communion" expecting to find answers to the many questions about what Strieber is trying to say in his books, nor with with heavy scrutiny. Rather, watch it with a good sense of humor. You'll need it."
John doe | North america | 04/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whilst it is impossible for a film to emulate the deposit of information contained within a book, people seem to forget the disparity between the two mediums when writing reviews. Therefor i believe many of the reviews i have read thus far are inaccurate, as any comparison to the book immediately renders them. What the film version does maintain, without question is the feeling that pervades the book.
The sense of a constantly eerie presence that is communicating from between the lines of the author/character, through him, using him and his medium as a host. The different mediums of the book and the film versions create a body of experience together, so that one should not be taken in without the other, as the book is absorbed through the left brain orifice, whilst the film's elaborate images are received through the right brain channel, thus equally affecting the imagination by different means, thereby bridging the hemispheres.
An atmospheric journey through the cosmic conspiracy of the human mind, and the red herring of visitors from afar, communion provides many moments of mystical strangitude, continuing the path the book began. For those of you who seek exposition, definitely pick up the book and absorbe every line of information through your third eye. There are some minor differences, such as the hynotist in the film being a female, and the presence of budd hopkins nowhere to be found here, but these were probably cinematic decisions made on the spur of the moment, to keep the focus on the elucidation of the experience Strieber is going through."
Walken spices up alien encounters!
William Paz | Knoxville, TN | 12/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From Whitley Strieber's non-fictional alien abduction tale, Communion, Christopher Walken is called upon to portray visually this unbelievable and awesome account of a man confronted by other-world beings. The best-selling book was hard to put down for me so when I saw a box cover in the video store w/ an alien face and the word Communion on it I thought, "oh great, another Fire in the Sky hollywood flop." Contrary to my first reaction, I pulled the cover off the shelf and snatched the tape behind it to take home and "examine". Later that night, to my surprise I was on the edge of my seat watching this movie, as I did with the book, feeling very surprised and impressed. First of all, without the presence of the highly acclaimed Christopher Walken, the movie would have been, for lack of a better term, nothing. His role is the central character and author of the story Whitley Strieber but his mannerisms and personality are that of... himself!! That's what makes the movie so interesting, a larger than life actor is playing the lead role in a larger than life story and it works to make a great film. Not to mention the fact that the soundtrack is a swirl of soft emotional violins contrasted by echoing guitars played by none other than the legendary Eric Clapton. It's some of his finest guitar work in my opinion. So in closing, if you're tired of big predictable blockbusters and you're looking for a good movie about a fantastic experience and a very unpredictable plot line, Communion is the film to see. If you like independent movies (Reservoir Dogs, Blair Witch, etc.)with big actors, pick up Communion today!"
A wonderful and absorbing movie
Mr. Fellini | 06/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say Communion has to be one of my most favoirte movies. Christopher Walken is a great actor and he made this movie both funny and scary at the same time. I used to watch this movie when I was a kid. It was like a movie I have never seen before. Everytime I watch it I learn something else. The music is really good too which they play in the beginning and at the end of the movie. Whitley Streiber the character Chris Walken plays in many ways is alot like me. I understand the difficulty of being an author and how hard it is if you're work is earsed. But like what he said in the movie," It happened for a reason." I think the aliens wanted him to write that story about them. What is even more fascinating is that this is actually based on a true story. I own the book and the movie. Both in my opinoin are excellent. I can't describe in words what this movie has done for me. I must say when I was younger, I was a bit afraid of the movie. The thought of aliens coming down and taking me away to some unknown place was very scary. The scene I could never forget was the part where Whitley was sitting up in his chair and seen the wierd alien peak at him from the bookshelf. When I was a kid I was afraid of something being behind my bookshelf as well. I love the relationship Christopher Walken shared with his son. You'd never thought he could play such a loving father after playing in the movie "At Close Range" Communion is a movie you could bring over to a friends house and watch over and over. I can't count the times I have seen this movie. Now that I own it, I can watch it everynight if I wanted to. A wonderful and absorbng novel and movie!"
Well-Acted, Sometimes Effective, not bad.
Mr. Fellini | El Paso, Texas United States | 08/02/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Communion" the movie is a well-acted and sometimes effective drama. Christopher Walken does a good job here, though I've seen him do much better, but here he totally disappears in this character of Whitley Strieber. However, we are never quite clear of what the movie's intentions are. Is it a simple little creepy story? Or a serious dissection of the alien abduction phenomenon? I guess maybe it depends on your point of view on the subject. Which is, I guess, the same way people view the bestselling (non-fiction) book of the same name. I personally can say that I have never experienced some sort of UFO abduction and have my doubts on the existance of alien life, so I look at "Communion" from an outsider's view. For those of us who don't stay in the circle of UFO researchers or "Experiencers," "Communion" works as a good try at scaring the viewer. There are some effective sequences, especially those that take place in the Striebers' cabin, where the abductions first took place. The scenes with the alien beings look really well-done and real. I don't call "Communion" science fiction because it is, like the book, being sold as a true story and there are people who believe it and who have reported claims in the same nature and no offense is wished, so, for me "Communion" comes off as a creepy drama. It isn't completely horrific, indeed, I wished for a few better scares. The reason the movie didn't work completely for me, was that at the end I was left confused and puzzled, "Communion" isn't very clear on what happened or how. It was reported that a film was being worked on based on Strieber's follow-up, "Transformation," but it apparently never materialized, though I wished it had to shed some more light on the story. In fact, "Communion" is not clear when things ARE happening, not just when it shows flashbacks. Take the scene near the end when Walken apparently visits an alien vessel, I didn't understand zilch of what was going on in there and when Walken suddenly wakes up in his car, I was even more confused. Still, "Communion" isn't BAD, it works as an original story and as a showcasing of great performances through-out. UFO buffs will probably love it, outsiders like myself apparently need to not only read the book (which I haven't but now plan to) but watch the movie again after doing so. Not horrible, not terrible, not great, but entertaining and interesting."