Encounter Movie Review
An alien bacteria is taking over the minds of humans—or is it?—in Encounter, a thriller that limps rather than lunges.
Despite a compelling mid-story twist that sparks intrigue for a moment, Encounter feels like an assemblage of bits and pieces taped together without a singular vision or purpose. Never dull but never particularly thrilling or dramatic either, Encounter simply exists, wobbling on its house-of-cards premise.
Riz Ahmed is fine but the material doesn’t serve him well; he’s a great actor but struggles with the tightrope act at play here. He, and the story, may have benefited from the twist/reveal coming later; director Michael Pearce (Beast) doesn’t quite get around to establishing his character in a sympathetic light, a necessary step for the third act to work effectively.
Encounter also attempts to do too much. Once Pearce commits to the story turn, he should have doubled down; instead, he treats the movie like a generic thriller, highlighted (lowlighted?) by a sequence in which Ahmed and his on-screen sons attempt to evade two armed militia men in a deserted town. It’s an action scene that seems out of place—filler even—that is unfortunately treated like a major moment.
Encounter isn’t without its moments, but it’s a fairly bland production that fails to take advantage of its potential.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.