By Mark Fields

Landscape with Invisible Hand

Landscape with Invisible Hand is a movie with a lot on its mind: class oppression, racial misunderstanding, social media’s commoditization of personal lives, the vicissitudes of adolescent love, the vapidity of modern education, and, oh yes, alien invasion. Writer-director Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds) has crafted an inventive tale of Adam, a young artist and his attempts to use his art to cope with the invasion and subjugation of Earth by an ostensibly benign alien species called the Vuvv. The Vuvv themselves are one of the little marvels of the movie because they are imagined not as the usual humanoids with weird facial features but a completely different type of non-bipedal lifeform with a distinctive way of communicating. True to alien form, however, they have little understanding or appreciation for human behavior, and they intend to help by imposing their own values on humankind.

The cast is uniformly appealing, especially Asante Blackk as Adam; Kylie Rogers as his friend and love interest Chloe; and Tiffany Haddish as Adam’s frustrated mother, Beth. Finley cleverly inserts a lot of deft, timely social commentary into a fairly straightforward sci-fi story. If anything, his provocative screenplay suffers from an overabundance of ideas, but given the empty-headedness of most cinematic science fiction entertainment, the aggressive thoughtfulness is refreshing. I left the theater actually thinking about what I had just seen, and also more than a little hopeful about the state of humanity in challenging times.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.