Following the success of Don’t Look Now (1973), director Nicolas Roeg had free rein to embark on this expensive and ambitious project.
In his first major film role, David Bowie plays an alien who travels to Earth in order to transport water back to his own drought-ridden planet. In human form, Bowie’s extraterrestrial is an elegant, articulate Englishman called Newton, a glassy-eyed entrepreneur with an unquenchable thirst. After establishing a multi-million dollar corporation, Newton builds himself a lavish, secluded home in New Mexico where he lives with Mary-Lou, a guileless gin drinker mostly accepting of her partner’s more bizarre tendencies. Bowie embodies the stranger in a strange land perfectly in this darkly hallucinatory and poetic example of science fiction cinema.