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Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada, Keith Szarabajka
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Amazon Prime sci-fi thriller directed and co-written by Michael Pearce. Encounter (2021) centers on decorated Marine Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed), who goes on a rescue mission to save his two young sons, Jay and Bobby (Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada), from an alien threat. As their journey takes them in increasingly dangerous directions, the boys will need to leave their childhoods behind.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Malik Khan: This is Mission Control to Jay. Sorry I haven’t written to you for a while. I’ve been away from civilization for a few weeks. How’s Bobby? He still farting in his sleep? Hope you two are getting along. Miss you both so much. I can’t believe it’s been two years since I saw you last. I want to come see you, but I need to keep fighting. I’m heading out on another secret mission, but I promise, when it’s over, I’ll come and visit. I know it’s hard not seeing each other, but remember, everything I do is to protect you.
Malik Khan: Okay. Who wants to play a game?
Bobby Khan: I like playing games.
Malik Khan: Okay, the game is called “get in the car as fast as humanly possible”.
Jay Khan: Dad? Can you tell us a war story? Like, all the battles you’ve been in?
Bobby Khan: And have you ever jumped out of a helicopter?
Malik Khan: You want to be a Marine, huh?
Jay Khan: Maybe.
Bobby Khan: I want to go skiing.
Malik Khan: [referring to Dylan] Oh, really? You want to go freeze your a** off on top of a mountain? Huh? With Mr. Stick Up His Butt? Hmm? Or you want to go on a road trip with your old man?
Bobby Khan: Number two, please.
Malik Khan: Okay. Well, then here it goes. Okay, we’re going on a Special Operations road trip.
Malik Khan: Hey, you kept all my letters, huh?
Jay Khan: Yeah.
Malik Khan: I kept all your drawings too. And some days, I thought I’d never make it back, that’s what kept me going.
Jay Khan: Dad, why do you have pictures of monsters?
Jay Khan: They’re not monsters. They’re parasites. It’s just a tiny organism that lives inside another creature.
Jay Khan: Inside humans?
Jay Khan: Hey, don’t worry about it.
Cop: So a little road trip, huh? At 3:00 AM?
Malik Khan: Yeah, you know, the early bird.
Cop: Sir, I want you to put your hands on the back of that car.
Malik Khan: S**t, there ain’t no need for that.
Cop: I got an “easy way or a hard way” speech prepared, if you really want to hear it.
Malik Khan: [after beating up the cop] We can’t go home. This ain’t a road trip. This is a rescue mission.
Jay Khan: What do you mean?
Malik Khan: Something’s come to our planet.
Jay Khan: Aliens?
Malik Khan: Non-terrestrial microorganisms.
Jay Khan: What’s wrong with mom?
Malik Khan: She’s got one inside her. She’s alive. She’s just not in control. Hey, but I’m going to save her. Boys, first, I’ve got to get you safe. That’s why right now I’m taking you to a base that’s still operational. It’s one of the only ones. It’s full of scientists, they’re working on a cure.
Malik Khan: Y’all ever heard of the Three Musketeers?
Bobby Khan: No, never.
Malik Khan: They were the three toughest soldiers there ever was. And they could survive anything because they stuck together. Now you’re telling me, if we don’t stand by each other, that we can’t get through anything?
Bobby Khan: Yes.
Malik Khan: I know we can.
Jay Khan: How many people have been infected?
Malik Khan: Could be as much as half the population. Folks look normal, but inside they’re not. If you use that spray, it’s like a force field. You’re going to be safe.
Jay Khan: What happens if you get infected?
Malik Khan: I won’t let that happen.
Malik Khan: Hey, Bobby. Nothing bad’s going to happen to you while I’m around, okay? And besides, if this ain’t a hell of an adventure, I don’t know what is, dude. I would’ve killed to do something like this when I was a kid.
Bobby Khan: Hey, Jay, what do you think it’s like when there’s an alien inside you?
Jay Khan: I think it’s like you can hear everything, and see everything, but you just can’t move, and you can’t speak. It’s like being a prisoner inside your own body.
Bobby Khan: You think the Red Sox are aliens?
Jay Khan: The Red Sox?
Bobby Khan: Yeah.
Jay Khan: Who cares? Why do you even like them anyway?
Bobby Khan: Well, like Dylan says they’re going to be the winner of the season.
Jay Khan: You know what? If Dylan likes them, then they’re definitely aliens.
Malik Khan: [after Bobby runs off] He is a kid.
Jay Khan: I’m a kid too.
Malik Khan: No, you’re not. No. You’re not a kid anymore. You can’t be. I’m sorry. I need you.
Malik Khan: Families take care of each other. Is that clear?
Jay Khan: Yes.
Malik Khan: You don’t like this? Heavy metal, dude. Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Megadeth? Okay, what do you guys listen to?
Jay Khan: K-pop.
Malik Khan: That’s why you’re in the back. Okay, what music do you like?
Bobby Khan: Barbra Streisand.
Malik Khan: Well, it’s official. You’re both infected.
Malik Khan: [over phone, referring to Jay and Bobby] I mean I went and got them. They’re with me now.
Hattie Hayes: Christ, Malik. That’s called kidnapping. And if you cross state lines, it’s a federal offense.
Malik Khan: Hey, I did not kidnap them. I saved them. Okay? I can’t explain it alright now, but they’re safe now. They’re safer here with me.
'Families take care of each other.' - Malik Khan (Encounter) Click To Tweet
Bobby Khan: [referring to dropping his toy out of the car window] It slipped.
Malik Khan: You kidding me? Well, I guess he’s going to have to fend for himself now.
Bobby Khan: Turn around!
Malik Khan: Welcome to the school of life, kid. You f*** up, you pay the price.
Piya: [after the police find her and Dylan tied up, referring to Malik] He said he just wanted to talk, so I let him in, and then he started acting really weird. He shined a penlight in my eye. Then he said, he knew I was one of them.
Shepard West: One of what?
Piya: I don’t know.
Lance Dunn: [referring to Malik] That’s your assessment? That he seemed like a good guy?
Hattie Hayes: Excuse me. I’m a good judge of character.
Lance Dunn: Everybody thinks they’re a good judge of character.
Lance Dunn: I think it’s very sweet that you’re one of those “benefit of the doubt” POs. But by not putting out an arrest warrant straight away, you exponentially increased the risk of these boys being hurt, or killed.
Hattie Hayes: Malik is not going to hurt anyone, least of all his boys.
Shepard West: [referring to Malik] Unfortunately, he checks a lot of these boxes. Separated from wife, isolated from kids. Dishonorably discharged from the one thing that he was good at. He’s got no benefits, no health care, no pension. Nothing. Then you put him on the inside for a couple of years to ferment. Resentment, rage. You add PTSD into the mix, what do you got? A ticking time bomb.
Hattie Hayes: But he loves his boys.
Shepard West: Practically all annihilators are considered loving fathers. That’s why nobody sees it coming. If we don’t stop Malik, he’s going to execute those boys. And then he’s going to turn the gun on himself. Because that’s the ultimate revenge.
Shepard West: Now, it’s likely that Malik has manipulated his children, and they have no idea the kind of danger that they’re in. In fact, they probably think he’s the greatest father in the world.
Shepard West: He is a desperate man, and he’s willing to take desperate measures. And he can turn on them at any moment.
Hattie Hayes: I gave somebody the benefit of the doubt that I shouldn’t have.
Ernie: Well, hey, you can’t be right all the time, baby.
Hattie Hayes: Yeah, but this guy could be bad news.
Ernie: Well, how bad?
Hattie Hayes: As bad as they come.
Malik Khan: [referring to Bobby] Little dude is combustible, just like me. Not you, though. You’re something else.
Jay Khan: I’m not tough, if that’s what you mean.
Malik Khan: Keeping a level head when all hell’s breaking loose, that’s a special kind of tough. That’s why we need you around. I need you.
Jay Khan: If half the world are aliens, how come nothing’s been on TV?
Malik Khan: You kidding me? They’re not there to tell us the truth.
Jay Khan: So the government knows?
Malik Khan: The government probably got turned first. Think about it.
Jay Khan: Has anyone else seen one of these meteors? Like, wouldn’t there be videos of them online? Wouldn’t NASA know about them?
Malik Khan: They take all that stuff down.
Jay Khan: Why would they take it down?
Malik Khan: You think I’m making it up?
Jay Khan: No.
Malik Khan: You don’t seem so sure.
Jay Khan: It’s just a lot to take in.
Malik Khan: Yeah. I know it’s a lot.
Malik Khan: [after trespassing onto Grant’s property] Were you in the military?
Grant: Not the one you’re talking about.
Malik Khan: I did ten tours.
Grant: Yeah? Whose side were you on?
Malik Khan: Side that gave me a Bronze Star.
Grant: Yeah, well, you can put whiskers on a snake and call it a kitty. Don’t mean it ain’t going to bite.
Jay Khan: [over phone] It’s Jay, his son. Is this base?
Hattie Hayes: Base? No. I’m Hattie Hayes. I’m your father’s parole officer.
Jay Khan: My dad was in prison?
Jay Khan: [after Malik’s knocked out Grant] Did you shoot an alien?
Malik Khan: Yeah, a big mean one.
Hattie Hayes: Shep, please. I don’t think we’re dealing with a family annihilator. I think Malik might be suffering from an undiagnosed psychotic disorder.
Shepard West: So you’re a psychiatrist now.
Hattie Hayes: [referring to Malik’s drawings of aliens] No, but I spoke to his Marine buddy, who was sent these. Now, Malik’s son asked me if I was an alien. Maybe Malik’s not out to hurt his boys. Maybe he thinks he’s on some sort of mission to save them.
Shepard West: Yeah, maybe. And maybe it makes him more dangerous.
Shepard West: What if he thinks his boys are aliens, shoots them? It doesn’t change what I have to do.
Hattie Hayes: But, surely, it changes how you engage him.
Shepard West: With all due respect, I’ve been doing this for twenty years. I know his profile. I am not going to antagonize the man.
Hattie Hayes: I’m not doubting you know how to do your job. But I am saying Malik called me, and his son called me, so I’m an asset to you. Why not bring me along just for the ride? And if you need me, I’m there. And if you don’t, I just sit in the back seat, keep my mouth shut, learn from the best.
Bobby Khan: You think the aliens ate our food?
Jay Khan: Probably.
Bobby Khan: Aliens like Pop-Tarts?
Jay Khan: Everyone likes Pop-Tarts, Bobby.
Jay Khan: Listen, Bobby. I think we need to call mom.
Bobby Khan: But she’s an alien.
Jay Khan: What if dad made it all up? Think about it. Aliens taking over the world?
Bobby Khan: You just said they ate our Pop-Tarts.
Jay Khan: Do you think aliens eat Pop-Tarts? Are you that stupid?
Jay Khan: I know you’ve been lying to us. You weren’t on a secret mission all those years. You were in prison. You’ve been lying about aliens coming down.
Malik Khan: That’s not the whole picture, okay?
Jay Khan: Stay away from me.
Malik Khan: I was in prison. I hid that from you. I was trying to make it easier on you. Maybe I was trying to make it easier on me too. I’ve been confused, Jay. Up here. You know? I’m seeing things that’s not there.
Jay Khan: You’re lying. You’ve been lying this whole time!
Malik Khan: Okay, I got good news and bad news. Want to hear the good news? Mom and Dylan are cured. They said they can’t wait to see you, and they love you more than anything in the world.
Bobby Khan: What’s the bad news?
Malik Khan: Bad news is I got to keep fighting.
Malik Khan: [after he finds Jay hiding in the back of the car] Jay, I told you to take care of your brother! What the f***, Jay?!
Jay Khan: He’s not the one that needs looking after.
Malik Khan: [as he’s being chased by the FBI] Come get it!
Jay Khan: Dad, stop!
Malik Khan: Whose side are you on?
Jay Khan: Yours, dad.
Malik Khan: [over phone] What do you want?
Shepard West: I just want you to know that I’m here to try to help you, and get this situation resolved as peacefully as possible. Now, there’s no media here.
Malik Khan: It’s not looking too peaceful pointing all that hardware at my boy. So how about you take a look at that first?
Shepard West: Okay, I’ll do that. Everybody, guns down!
Malik Khan: [over phone] I f***ed up, Hattie. I dug myself in pretty deep.
Hattie Hayes: I can see that. But there’s still a way out.
Malik Khan: Not for me. I deserve what’s coming.
Hattie Hayes: I have to disagree with you. Your mind has played a horrible trick on you, Malik. And everybody’s going to take that into account.
Hattie Hayes: [over phone] See, there are some things going on in your head that you’re not in control of. But, Malik, your boys need you now more than ever, okay? If we do this thing right, listen to me. If we do this thing right, you will always be a hero to your sons.
Malik Khan: Hey, Jay. Thank you for coming out here to take care of me. You did a good job, okay? You did great. I need you to run off now. Get out of the car. Get out of the car!
Jay Khan: I’m not going without you. Families take care of each other.
Malik Khan: I didn’t take care of you. I put you in danger. You put your trust in me, and I lied to you. Look where I got us to.
Jay Khan: And it weren’t you that did those bad things. It was the demons inside of you. But you’re a hero to me, dad.
Malik Khan: [after Jay runs out with his gun] Jay! They’re going to shoot you!
Jay Khan: Not if you’re here with me, they won’t. Put it down, Jay. Look at me. Look at me. Come here. Come here, baby. Come here.
[Jay drops the gun and runs into Malik’s arms]