Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974)

I'm generally pretty antipathetic toward narration in movies.  So it's ironic that I think this film would have been improved by adding more narration.

Not as much as eliminating the narration entirely, mind you, but improved nonetheless.

You see, this film uses narration as a means to give it a documentary style feel.  Which is not an immediately terrible idea when you're doing a "secret government conspiracy!" type of thing.  Pitch it like it really happened and you can generate some sense of outrage over the treatment of the men in the story, and/or some creeping anxiety about the machinations of clandestine organisations.

Heck, in the 1970s - when there were still people actively looking for the Loch Ness monster, and a bunch of supposed Bigfoot sightings - you might even have found an audience willing to accept such a 'docudrama' at face value, even when the subject matter is UFO-related conspiracy.

So the flaw with the use of narration in this film isn't that the script doesn't commit to it.  Too much of the movie plays just like any other bit of celluloid fiction.  Throwing in some sombre voice over and the occasional time/date stamp doesn't make it feel more authentic.  It just draws attention to the parts that aren't done that way.

The film also lacks a satisfactory ending.  Having witnessed a UFO (on radar, anyway), an Air Force crew is whisked away to a secret base and subjected to a lengthy debriefing that's intended to persuade them their equipment was faulty.  Those that go along with this get promotions.  Those that don't get dead end posts.  The end.

There are much better uses of 75 minutes.  Go watch some Minecraft videos or something, instead.

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