Brother from Another Planet: After escaping slavery on another planet, a three-toed alien (Joe Morton) crashes on Ellis Island and makes his way to Harlem. Assumed to be a homeless black man, the alien fits right into the multicultural swath of New York City, especially since he can fix both broken bones and broken machines just by touching them. Meanwhile, two men in black with unusual gaits and a fondness for DRAGNET-style dialogue prowl the streets of Harlem looking for the alien. Although director John Sayles is more known for realistic character studies, his early training in film came from writing science fiction scripts for such films as ALLIGATOR and BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET demonstrates his aptitude for the sci-fi genre, though the film probably has more in common with Dante's INFERNO than Steven Spielberg's E.T. or John Carpenter's STARMAN. Sayles has the alien moving up and down New York City's social stratum, exposing both the minor triumphs of the city's poorer residents and the overarching structure of corruption and oppression. Seemingly a comedy, this film is actually a dramatic essay on racism, drug abuse, and corporate greed.
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