Landscape with Invisible Hand Review

landscape with invisible hand
landscape with invisible hand
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To sit and watch Landscape with Invisible Hand, which is about a race of Lovecraftian beings who have come to earth for reasons that remain unclear, is to enter into the world of the novel by M.T. Anderson. In this text, the vulva is an alien race fascinated by human romanticism and visual arts; they are superficial in their interest in art and take pride in not being capable of perceiving what humans regard as art. It’s when they spot Adam Campbell (Asante Blackk) that vuuv extend their slender eyestalks forward towards him only to start beating their paddle-like appendages together accompanied by “What purpose does it have?” via Alexa-like translator devices on her body. This movie is a satire set against the near-future USA where unemployment is rampant, schools are shut down, and people pay dearly for things such as medical insurance and education.“Landscape With Invisible Hand” has never been subtle about its intentions.

The book: Landscape with Invisible Hand from one of the subgenres of philosophic literature is more fun to think about than watch. The vuuv offer limitless possibilities for interpretation; they represent runaway capitalism, and warn against the excessive use of technology at all costs or this concept can be likened to colonization gone wrong described by one character as “…a sticky coffee table.” As shown through a cute initial animation where first contact catastrophes are sidestepped by no armies or governments but the most entrepreneurial merchants on our planet: this reverses classic sci-fi tropes related to alien arrival on Earth. In just 20 minutes, “To Serve Man” becomes “Eat the rich,” but it also seems too soon for Landscape with Invisible Hand’s biggest guffaw.

It’s cool because these foreign capitalists don’t need anyone on Earth except those whose labor doesn’t add value—to them anyway—and they’ll treat you accordingly. Decade after decade, the vulva colony over Adams’ hometown makes it look like an album cover of corporate architecture in Boston. This would be Adam’s house if he had not recently allowed Chloe Marsh (Kylie Rogers), a new girl in school, and her family to live there for reasons that become clear later.

They decide that their parents should be paid by creating a show about their growing relationship which will be telecasted on Vuuv Live: the neural node used to enhance students’ learning through technology. The main focus is on this storyline when it starts but then develops into a cracked rom-com setup that mostly serves as Finley’s opportunity to showcase his ability to take close-ups. This story is actually a series of episodes set up as ‘‘slice-of-life vignettes’’ just like those in Anderson’s novel.

This helps Landscape with Invisible Hand to have a scope that is very wide but still remains small, doing so by having the Campbell house as the venue for various scenes depicting Mr. Marsh’s (Josh Hamilton) and his son Hunter’s (Michael Gandolfini) futile attempts at living in their brave new world, Adam’s dad (William Jackson Harper – who only appears briefly but always does good work), and finally what Beth, the matriarch of the Campbell family (Tiffany Haddish), has to do when she pretends she is married to a vuuv.

However, this mid-movie twist also seems like an admission that no one in the Campbell home will be interesting enough to keep us interested for an hour-and-a-half-long movie. It’s something that happens when satire lacks powerful performances and sharp dialogue because such people end up being symbols or spokesmen rather than characters. This applies especially well to two men named Marsh who are typical representatives of 21st-century American males in crisis slightly better acted by Hamilton and Gandolfini. (The script doesn’t go all the way with it, giving him a slightly different version of his father’s “I came at the end” speech.) As for Haddish, her star wattage shines brightest in the sitcom climax of her subplot and earlier on there is a dramatic moment that looks like it was inserted from another take where everyone flubbed.

Perhaps Finley was not doing himself any favors by basing Landscape with Invisible Hand around mysteries of artistic creation as opposed to vuvvian profit-and-productivity lifestyle. Even though there are many pictures that describe how far this interplanetary occupation stretches through, and despite Blackk’s portrayal of Adam showing off lots of artistry tendencies, there is still something about putting oneself down on a canvas that is difficult to depict on film. In his almost resigned acceptance that painting is simply something he does, it is only at the end that a tragic ending fakes its importance to the character. This is a timid shift but it moves in line with what will follow.

This is one of Finley’s outstanding strengths as a director, and it works extremely well for something like this. While his script sometimes has shortcuts for character development and plot points – Beth comes right out and says that her son feels too much; Chloe recalls when the vulva asked her about human mating habits – the director fills the frame with dots to be joined. Bottled water kept after use, makeshift dining room lighting fixtures, and bits of an expensive piano dropped from above all offer us profound insights like what Mr. Marsh listens to on TV or how tense things have gotten between Beth and her alien tenant Landscape with Invisible Hand’s world never feels anything less than lived-in – though it’s no place you’d want to live in.


Landscape with Invisible Hand is full of ideas and stories but they are not able to come together into a satisfying whole. The visual trickery that was evident in both Thoroughbreds (2017) and Bad Education (2020) by Cory Finley is also showcased here — which goes very well with slimy, slug-like CGI aliens — nevertheless, there’s no Anya Taylor-Joy, Hugh Jackman or Geraldine Viswanathan who could anchor these lofty ambitions with urgent message existed within science fiction satires.

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