Review: Encounter (#TIFF21)


An unexpectedly twisty tale of parenting, mental health, paranoia, and the dangers of the unseen, Encounter is delightfully alluring and yet another showcase of Riz Ahmed’s unrivaled talents.

Ahmed stars as an ex-Marine and father who rescues his children from the threat of alien bugs. As odd as the synopsis may sound, Encounter is a raw story of a father’s love for his children, showcasing a new side of Ahmed that is both honest and poignant. Most impressive is writer/director Michael Pearce’s intricate weaving of genres and themes to craft something that seems new, yet comfortably familiar. This is a film best seen without much knowledge as the depths of the plot are explored with careful intensity, painting an unpredictable final painting ripe with emotion and suspense.

As great as Ahmed is in Encounter, young actor Lucian-River Chauhan is a standout as the oldest son. His character’s arc journeys from one of childhood adoration of his father, divorced from his mother, to one of forced responsibility and maturity that Chauhan embodies as though he was a veteran actor. Add in the always impressive Octavia Spencer in a small, yet important role and you have a film that peels back the curtain on many subjects in a creative, intriguing, original project.

Encounter hits Amazon Prime Video on December 10th, 2021.

Rating: 4/5

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