The Stream: The title Encounter is a misnomer that might disappoint you in the end
The Big Screen: Riz Ahmed’s performance is quite solid
The Final Bill: A good character study about a difficult topic to explore in our society– S2S: Movie Review
Director: Michael Pearce
Writers: Joe Barton, Michael Pearce
Stars: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
Platform: Prime Video released December 10, 2021
I’m back, Streamers! I know you all missed me, but no need to fret. I’m back, and I finally had the time to watch a movie released on Prime Video this week called Encounter. Led by, my guy, Riz Ahmed, we catch up with two brothers that embark on a journey with their father, who is trying to protect them from an, guess what… alien encounter. Oh yeah, Octavia Spencer shows up along the way. Let’s see how thrilling this flick got.
Let’s just start with the misnomer of the title, which actually makes this review very hard to do. I always say do not go into a movie with preconceived notions, assumptions or expectations. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I did sitting down to watch Encounter. Oh, it’s an encounter of sorts. But honestly, I appreciate the misdirection. The movie presents a touching and intense story. In fact, I really enjoyed the story itself even though it’s not as complicated as they try to make it. There is an intersection of alien, mental health, military, and law enforcement experiences in this film that make it quite poignant. If I had thought this movie were more about that from the description, I might have felt more positively towards it. In fact, the movie Jacob’s Ladder is a great comparison for this movie. Encounter is clearly not as in-depth because it focuses more on the relationship between the family and forces affecting the father, but it feels similar. Between Riz Ahmed and the boys, you can really feel the heat and aliens crawling through you skin. In fact, Riz is pretty great in most things he’s in and this is nothing different, but it’s not his best role comparatively. He’s worth watching only because it was free on Prime Video. And Octavia, really?! You picked this role?! Do better! You are an Oscar-winning actress and this role is just beneath you. They definitely just used her face to gain interest by her fans. We get no classic performance like Ma! here, unfortunately. In fact, for a sci-fi flick, we get zero classic moments and that is the most disappointing part. Don’t get me started on the ending! I truly feel they just didn’t know how to end the story. They were like “ok, this makes sense so let’s just call it quits.” Sometimes that’s the right call but it just didn’t work here.
Either way, this is a short review. The movie is good for what it is. Encounter is another character study of Riz character fighting for his life and family. If I saw this in the theater, I’d probably be a bit underwhelmed; but it fits perfectly for a quick intense streaming view. Is this a must see flick? No, but if you’ve appreciated Riz’s performances in previous shows and movies, then you’ll enjoy this as well. If you haven’t seen Sound of Metal, I’d recommend seeing that before jumping into this one. Nevertheless, for a streaming movie, grab a nice little bowl of popcorn and enjoy Encounter.