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4.4 15
Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods

     
 

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The search for life outside our solar system becomes a personal and spiritual quest for a young researcher. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) is a scientist who lost her faith in God after her parents died when she was a child. However, Ellie has learned to develop a different sort of faith in the seemingly unknowable: working with a group that monitors radio waves from… See more details below

Overview

The search for life outside our solar system becomes a personal and spiritual quest for a young researcher. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) is a scientist who lost her faith in God after her parents died when she was a child. However, Ellie has learned to develop a different sort of faith in the seemingly unknowable: working with a group that monitors radio waves from space, Ellie hopes that some day she will receive a coherent message from another world that will prove that there is a world beyond our own. Ellie's hard work is rewarded when her team picks up a signal that does not appear to be of earthly origin. Ellie decodes the message, which turns out to be plans for a space craft, which she takes as an invitation for a meeting with the aliens. Ellie and her fellow researchers soon run into interference from a White House scientific advisor, David Drumlin (Tom Skerritt), who cuts off their funding and tries to take credit for their achievements. However, Ellie receives moral support from Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey), a spiritual teacher who advises President Clinton and tries to persuade her to accept the existence of a higher power, and financial backing from S.R. Hadden (John Hurt), a multi-millionaire willing to fund her attempts to contact the source of the message. Contact was based on a novel by Carl Sagan, who advised director Robert Zemeckis during the film's production until his death in 1996.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
One of the few really entertaining and intellectually engaging science fiction-dramas of the decade, this box-office hit from director Robert Zemeckis is also surprisingly emotional. A believable basic premise, solid character development, and an absorbing foray into the real-life political and social ramifications of a major scientific discovery keep the film bristling with energy; so do some kinetic special effects sequences not limited just to space flight, but which also include the digital insertion of President Bill Clinton into the proceedings. All of these elements effectively combine to make for what amounts to a thinking person's thrill ride. Only the vacant and oddly unengaged performance of Matthew McConaughey, playing what is typically the supportive, challenging female role, is a misfire, though it may not be the actor's fault. In a nutshell, McConaughey is called upon to play a sexy philosopher with wounded pride, a good ol' boy drawl, and a tendency to Bible-thump, who is somehow not too right wing and ends up in a powerful government post under a liberal president. Clearly, his is the film's most troubling character and could have used a little re-imagining. Still, McConaughey plays only a small supporting role that is the one distraction in an otherwise enjoyable and amazingly credible picture. It's truly a surprise that Contact (1997) works so well, based as it is on a novel by the late, great Carl Sagan, famed for his skepticism about interstellar travel and alien life forms. Maybe it takes a doubter to create a truly convincing and plausible story about such credibility-challenging subjects.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/06/2009
UPC:
0883929064144
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:29:00
Sales rank:
19,718

Special Features

3 commentaries: Jodie Foster; Robert Zemeckis and Steve Starkey; Ken Ralston and Stephen Rosenbaum; 4 special effects featurettes; Music-only audio track (5.1); Theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jodie Foster Ellie Arroway
Matthew McConaughey Palmer Joss
James Woods Michael Kitz
John Hurt S.R. Hadden
Tom Skerritt David Drumlin
William Fichtner Kent
David Morse Ted Arroway
Angela Bassett Rachel Constantine
Geoffrey Blake Fisher
Max Martini Willie
Robert A.A. Lowe Richard Rank
Jake Busey Joseph
Jena Malone Young Ellie
Tucker Smallwood Mission Director
David St. James Joint Chief

Technical Credits
Robert Zemeckis Director,Producer
Arthur Schmidt Editor
Evelyne Barbier Set Decoration/Design
Steven J. Boyd Associate Producer
Joan Bradshaw Executive Producer
Mariko Braswell Set Decoration/Design
Don Burgess Cinematographer
Victoria Burrows Casting
James Claytor Set Decoration/Design
Bruce Crone Art Director
Weta Digital Special Effects
Ann Druyan Co-producer,Original Story
Michael Goldenberg Screenwriter
Jim V. Hart Screenwriter
CIS Hollywood Special Effects
Lawrence Hubbs Art Director
Sony Pictures Imageworks Special Effects
Industrial Light & Magic Special Effects
Joanna Johnston Costumes/Costume Designer
William B. Kaplan Sound/Sound Designer
Josh Lusby Set Decoration/Design
Bruce Moriarity Asst. Director
Lynda Obst Executive Producer
Rick Porras Associate Producer
Pacific Ocean Post Special Effects
Big Sky Post Special Effects
Kristen Pratt Set Decoration/Design
Carl Sagan Co-producer,Original Story
Alan Silvestri Score Composer
Easton M. Smith Set Decoration/Design
Steve Starkey Producer
Michael Taylor Set Decoration/Design
Ed Verreaux Production Designer
Warner Digital Studios Special Effects
Dean Wolcott Set Decoration/Design

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