The short and the short of it: The psychology of The Narrow World

(image via io9 – Gizmodo (c) Brent Bonacorso)


The Narrow World is the story of a gigantic alien that crashes to Earth and takes up residence in Los Angeles. Contrary to expectations, when the alien is neither hostile towards the tiny humans around it, nor communicative in any way, it falls on the populace to decipher what, exactly, this visitor wants and what it means for them. One man sees more to it- a message, perhaps, that may tell us less about the alien, and more about our deepest inner selves, about the mysteries of the soul.

We’re all well used to alien invasion films or TV show where the extraterrestrials, who are usually possessed of a violent nature, an inquisitive bent or both, start throwing their weight around like a sumo wrestler who wants to be yokozuna (the highest rank).

Or they start to talking us like crazy, eager to either selflessly impart information – rare, at least without ulterior intent – or keep us chatting away while their invasion fleet creeps upon us and blasts us into oblivion.

But how would we react if all the aliens did was arrive, walk around and then sit quietly by, neither fiendishly engaging nor garrulously friendly? Would we breathe a sigh of relief? Grow yet more suspicious? Treat them like a part of the furniture?

The Narrow World, written and directed by Brent Bonacorso, cleverly uses a documentary-style production to examine a range of potential responses from a number of different people, as io9 Gizmodo notes:

“The film includes documentary-style talking heads. A researcher for the Department of Homeland Security who is obsessed with finding a reason for its presence, as long as it’s not an attack. A member of the military convinced it’s bringing trouble. And a psychologist talking about it in neutral terms and human response.”

It turns the usual alien invasion dynamic on its head, a rarity in science fiction films which, intentionally or not, often fall into the same well-worn groove.

Oh and there’s a really cool, quite touching twist at the end.

All in all, this is remarkably insightful, emotionally-moving short film that gifts us a whole new, thoroughly-rewarding slant on dealing with the alien unknown.


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