There are certain films that catch you completely off-guard, but you are grateful that they did. Josh Tanner‘s The Landing is one of those film. It arrived in my inbox with a simple note stating that the short told the story of a mysterious UFO in Midwestern America in the 1960s. To be honest, I was hesitant to give the film a look. Coming off a ten hour car ride home from a funeral, the last thing I was in the mood for was a high concept short. However, something compelled me to press play and I am thankful I did.
The Landing is an invigorating tale that is far more layered than its one line synopsis implies. At first the film appears to be a standard spaceship falls from the sky yearn, complete with precocious young boy (Tom Usher) and blue collar father (Henry Nixon), but quickly morphs into something far more haunting. The little green men in Tanner’s film are not merely representatives of aliens from another world, but soldiers off fighting in another land. It rapidly becomes apparent that cold war paranoia, wisely emphasized by the plastic army men young Edward (Usher) plays with, is just as terrifying as the idea of aliens walking among us.
Josh Tanner uses this uneasiness to craft a thrilling drama that disguises itself as a Spielberg/Amblin film, when it is actually more akin to a film like Frailty in tone. The result is an exhilarating mixture of fear, paranoia and grief that could have easily been sustained into a feature length film. Featuring a strong visual prowess, and wonderful performances, The Landing is a film that one does not soon forget. A big winner on the festival circuit, the film marks the emergence of a director who not only demands our attention, but has the makings of a bright future ahead of him.
Director: Josh Tanner / Australia / 2013 / 18 minutes
Starring: Henry Nixon, Tom Usher and David Roberts