Fun fact: Peter Dinklage spanked me once. If he ever asks you what pose you want to do in a photo shoot, don’t reply “whatever you want, sir.” I’ve been on Team Dinklage for many years now, way before he shot to fame as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones. For those who don’t watch that HBO fantasy drama, you may know him better as the children’s author Miles Finch in Elf (2003). When one looks at Dinklage’s filmography, it’s clear he’s got a great range and appearing on the biggest TV show in the world hasn’t stopped him Dinklage from turning his hands to other projects (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Avengers: Infinity War).
His most recent release, which he also produced, is a far more intimate and grounded. I Think We’re Alone Now tells the story of Del (Dinklage), someone who believes he’s become the last man on Earth after a devastating epidemic wipes out mankind. Directed by Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale), I Think We’re Alone Now doesn’t sound like the most original or inventive of film ideas, but it counteracts this with strong character work.
Where Morano succeeds in telling this story is by letting Dinklage speak for himself. There isn’t an overbearing use of dialogue, so we instead see Del simply living in an unusually quiet world. We follow him, wondering what will happen next and allowing ourselves to become passengers on his journey. When he comes across Grace (Elle Fanning), the dynamic immediately changes, but the chilled vibes and ideas of exploration remain. I Think We’re Alone Now doesn’t rely on dramatics for the sake of it and that’s how it stands out from the crowd. We’ve seen plenty of similar ideas but differently executed, mostly getting caught up in jump-scares and doom and gloom. Here it’s more about peace and quiet, allowing these characters to live without fear, choosing to embrace the freedom they now have. It’s a refreshing change and it helps that the characters are likeable and people you want to tag along with.
Being the last two people on Earth isn’t easy, and it’s not all plain sailing for Del and Grace, but their relationship strengthens enough to believe that they can survive this new normal together. There’s a mutual respect between them, despite being very different people. Grace is more in-your-face than Del, so it takes him a while to adjust to that, but they balance each other out very well. Similar stories often feature very forced relationships, but writer Mike Makowsky manages to develop Del and Grace in a believable manner. There are moments of emotion, positive and negative, and Dinklage and Fanning pull those off in impressive fashion. They’re two people at the top of their game right now and I Think We’re Alone lets them deliver something quite special.
Where the film lost me a little was outside of the character moments, where it delves into what’s going on beyond Del’s hometown. I can see what they were trying to do, and it works to a point, once Patrick (Paul Giamatti) and Violet (Charlotte Gainsbourg) enter the picture and their characters test Del and Grace ideals and strength… but the story worked better before that twist in the road. I couldn’t help but want more from the main duo, and less of everything else outside of them.
This Dinklage-led sci-fi drama is worth a watch if you’re a fan of his, or Fanning’s, or even up-and-comer Reed Moran, but it’s hard to recommend I Think We’re Alone Now overall. I can’t argue against the quality of the performances, but the story itself loses steam and makes unnecessary changes that take it down what I felt was the wrong path. It’s a case of missed opportunities from a movie that never steps up from good to great. A harmless but ultimately forgettable way to spend an evening.
Available on digital download from 19 November 2018 in the UK.
Cast & Crew
director: Reed Morano.
writer: Mike Makowsky.
starring: Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning, Paul Giamatti & Charlotte Gainsbourg.