|Raindance Film Review: The Hidden Hand|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Sunday, 07 October 2012 13:31|
Director: James Carman
“I can’t stand the term UFOs. We’ve known for years what they are…’
That’s one of the many contributors to The Hidden Hand, a film exploring the claims of people who have seen aliens.
People who say they were abducted are called abductees. People who say they had friendly contact with aliens are called contactees. People who label their experience as neither positive nor negative are called experiencers.
I call all of them something else: crackpots.
But while The Hidden Hand can be a lot of fun to giggle and smirk through, James Carman’s documentary does something a lot smarter: it doesn’t judge them at all. With people around the world all reporting the same details and appearances, are they telling the truth? Is it just mass hysteria? Are people inventing abductions to deal with their own sexual trauma?
Sure enough, words pop up like “genital areas”, “insects”, “blonde women” and “devices”. It doesn’t help that the vox pops are pieced together with such cheesy music and titles: chapter headings such as “GALACTIC CONSCIOUSNESS” appear in giant letters on the screen, while other quotes and evidence are presented, without exception, on “Classified” notepaper.
“These are my principles. And if you don’t like them – well, I have others,” reads one. Quite why Groucho Marx is on an apparently top secret document is never really explained.
Still, Carman has fun with a neat motif that sees a human face look like a mountain range and his range of high authority figures yields enough interesting trivia to keep you hooked: why would NASA write a 20-page letter to Spielberg attacking Close Encounters of the Third Kind if there was nothing to hide? One man’s description of being introduced to a rectal probe by E.T. as rape is equally eye-opening, while another guy simply spends most of his interview sobbing, lying (for some reason) on a luxurious red bed sheet.
“They’re telling stories that are so abnormal that they couldn’t make them up,” argues one expert towards the end. I agree with the first part. The Hidden Hand lets you make up your own mind on the second.