Alien3 (1992: directed by David Fincher): Alien3 is Fincher’s first film, and its famously troubled production and mixed reception have contributed to its being relatively neglected amongst the sequels spawned by Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece. In fact, it constitutes a fascinatingly disruptive continuation of the life story of Flight Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), and one which already bears the distinctive marks of Fincher’s directorial persona. It begins by brutally depriving Ripley of the family that her previous heroics have earnt her, and depositing her on a prison planet populated by depraved convicts who have formed a religious community, for whom Ripley embodies a threat to their fragile masculinity and their faith, as well as bringing with her another incarnation of the alien. The film’s climax interweaves ideas of nihilistic despair, religious hope, and the metaphysics of gender, sex and the body to unforgettable effect. [recommended by Stephen Mulhall, Oxford]

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