If I was to summarise Netflix’s ‘John was trying to contact alien’s’ documentary in a single phrase, the idiom short but sweet would suffice. Netflix documents John’s lifelong ambition to make contact with extraterrestrial beings in an endearing yet informative way. Delving into john’s world of telescopes, radios and starry-eyed ambition. Great usage of cinematography can be found here, with plenty of close-ups to show his introspection.
The documentary showers the viewer with archive footage from John’s life, all depicting his life’s work. These bits of footage show not only John but his family and the relationship he has with them. This is done beautifully and emotively, to the point where any casual viewer would be moved. Netflix makes use of gentle ambient music to show the loneliness of John’s pursuit. Reflecting the remoteness of his environment and almost indirectly likening it to the emptiness of outer space. The ironic thing is that during his mission to look for aliens, John has alienated himself from society. Yet despite this shortcoming, you end up respecting him for his determination. He does not give up even when the going gets tough. Netflix shows the hardship he goes through well, but they also show the childlike innocence and recreation of his mission as well. Showing beautiful images of stars, the galaxy and other planets. John appears to truly enjoy his pursuit of aliens. You’ll see him playing his music for the aliens over the radio and jamming to it. Truly encapsulating his passion and belief for what he does despite the lonely path it put him on.
We also see John be vulnerable, expressing the hardships of his sexuality. But while he does experience hardship with it, ultimately this also leads to him making contact with another. By the end of it, it’s not about whether John made contact with aliens. Rather it’s about John making any contact at all. A moving documentary, showing an eccentric, motivated yet lonely man’s lifestyle.