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Plot, Details & Awards

Communion

(1989)
In Theaters 11/10/1989 , 103min.
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Plot & Details

Adapted by Whitley Strieber from his book about his alleged contacts with aliens, Communion dramatizes a story all the more compelling for the author's insistence that it is true, complemented by Christopher Walken's enigmatic performance as Strieber. The film begins in October 1985, as Strieber is living in New York City with his wife Anne (Lindsay Crouse) and son Andrew (Joel Carlson). He is hunting for new book ideas without making much headway. He spends his days pacing around his apartment, thinking out loud or videotaping himself as he improvises bits of dialogue. It is soon decided that a vacation is in order, so, with their friends Alex (Andreas Katsulas) and Sara (Terri Hanauer), the Striebers head for their cabin in Upstate New York. In the middle of the night, an illumination descends on the cabin and surrounding forest, causing Strieber to wake up abruptly. In the semi-darkness of the cabin, he is able to make out a long face with narrow, tear-shaped eyes quietly observing him from a corner of the room. The next morning, he has forgotten -- or been made to forget -- the whole experience. He even shrugs off Alex's and Sarah's concern about "seeing lights" outside their bedroom window, claiming to have slept through the event. Back in New York, it becomes evident to Strieber and his family that something unusual did happen. He begins to have powerful hallucinations, and, after an inconclusive medical examination, he is encouraged by his wife to seek professional help from psychiatrist Janet Duffy (Frances Sternhagen). During hypnotic regression therapy, Strieber's lifelong contact with the "visitors" is brought to light, as well as the details of his more recent encounters. Still unable to accept these revelations, he returns to the cabin alone and finally communicates with the visitors, discovering that, although they are unable to reveal their true identity, their purpose may be to act as agents of personal transformation for himself and for others. An interesting and uneven film, Communion is bolstered considerably by Christopher Walken, whose role in the film, though appropriate for the subject matter, quickly transforms into a thesis on his own eccentricities as an actor.

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