Coming to theatres and then to Prime Video from writer/director Michael Pearce, Joe Barton and Amazon Original Studios is the story of the ENCOUNTER.
Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a veteran of the Marine Corps, and he has returned to take sons Jay (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby (Aditya Geddada) on a trip. The boys soon realize their father is running from something, believing that there is an alien bug that has come to Earth. The only way to know if a person is infected is by their eyes and the only protection is bug spray.
Where Malik is really taking his two boys is a military base in Arizona where he convinces them they will be safe until a cure is found. On the road he begins to train them to survive. Keeping the boys out of site, eldest boy Jay discovers that he and his brother have been, in fact, kidnapped from their mother Piya (Janina Gavankar) and law enforcement are looking for them.
Jay also realizes that something is wrong with his father when he makes a call and talks to Hattie (Octavia Spencer) and more of the truth comes out. As the stressors become more obvious and the world begins to catch up with them, Malik must decide how he is going to handle the situation and Jay decides who his father really is.
Ahmed as Khan is a man who knows that the aliens are on Earth and causing destruction wherever they go no matter the species. Taking his sons to a safer place is his only goal and nothing is going to stop him – or no one. Ahmed gives us the performance of a man split between the war world he served and protecting his family.
Chauhan as Jay is a strong young man who believes in his father and trusts that what he is doing is right. Knowing that the trip starts off the ways he always thought it would be like, it is what comes after that is so much for a young man. Chauhan portrays his character as a young man who can not let his father down and stands firm till the end.
Geddada as Bobby is a boy who does what all boys do, be rambunctious, inquisitive, and loud. The road trip with him is not easy on Malik which puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Jay, as if he does not have enough to contend with.
Spencer as Hattie wants something better for Malik and wants him to bring the boys home before things get out of hand. Spencer gives us a caring woman who wants to do her job naturally but sees Malik as more than just another man in trouble with the law.
Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.
ENCOUNTER has been nominated in four categories by the British Independent Film Awards for Best Actor – Riz Ahmed, Best Supporting Actor – Lucian River Chauhan, Best Music – Jed Kurzel and Best Sound – Andrew Stirk, Paul Davies, Morgan Muse, Bernard O’Reilly and Julian Howarth.
The film gives us a look at Malik’s thought process regarding the aliens, how it is spread and the only protection for human beings. He is dedicated to saving his sons and making sure no one tries to stop him. There is such a dynamic here between father and sons as the eldest has held on to a love for his father that is based on wanting things to be as he believes but the youngest has very little to go on other than Malik is his dad.
They begin to learn about each other but even that is based on a mixture of wanting to protect his sons from the past and the present and two young men who see their father as a hero. Ahmed goes in many directions with his role and each of them are strong – until this character can no longer tell lie from truth.
ENCOUNTER is a mixture of science fiction and the realities of human beings who have seen and been a part of something so traumatic that it changes their life’s perspective. Although there is a mixture of premises here that I have seen before, it does not change ENCOUNTER being an emotionally charged film.
In the end – it is in what we believe!