It has been reported that, as of 2018, 17% of Americans report a UFO sighting. While these mostly just stay as a statistic, Daniel Myrick went a step further and documented one particular man.
‘Skyman’ is a documentary written and directed by Daniel Myrick, and follows Carl Merryweather, a man who says he saw an alien when he was a child. Now, 30 years later, he wants to revisit the same spot he met the alien in, in hopes that they’ll reunite.
The documentary follows Carl through this journey, as well as featuring news footage of the alien sighting in question. The documentary then gives its audience another perspective of Carl via interviews from family and friends; he’s someone who had held onto this one memory all his life and, in doing so, isn’t living in the present. While the documentary is fascinating. It also paints a sad picture of Carl Merryweather because of these other interviews.
Carl’s interviews are unbiased and do fantastically well at not painting him as the stereotype that is seen in alien invasion films; he’s a rational man who saw something extra-terrestrial when he was a kid. The news footage that is shown, reporting the same sighting as well as witness statements further imply that Carl may have actually seen what he said he saw. When recounting the UFO memory, it’s obvious that it affected Carl, and whether you believe it or not is irrelevant. Once something stays in someone’s mind, it’s there for their whole life; it isn’t something that can be forgotten. However, you can either act on old memories, or just keep them as memories and, for Carl, it’s the former. Ever since the sighting, he’s been doing research on other sightings, as well as preparing for his own re-sighting, if it ever happens. But the documentary stays unbiased and takes its time to let Carl tell his story.
It also gives audiences a glimpse into Carl’s childhood home life, revealing that his father was a Vietnam soldier who lived through, and prepared for, the Cold War in case things went wrong. In one interview, Carl even says that his father ‘always had a plan B in case things went wrong’. As we watch Carl take us on a tour of his bunker-like home that he lived in as a child, his own research and preparation skills become clear, in terms of how and when he picked those skills up; the phrase ‘like father, like son’ rings true here. However, interviews with his sister and friend reveal that he doesn’t keep in regular contact with the people he knows as family and has become distant and the documentary changes its tone seamlessly, whether intended to or not. Like previously mentioned, Carl is holding and relying on one childhood memory and forgetting about the present in the process.
If I were to critique anything, it’s that the documentary has a slightly unfocused start, and too many panning shots seemingly for no reason. The opening shot starts with a University professor explaining that sometimes we see something and, because we can’t identify it, our minds make up the rest of what we’re seeing. However, this is questioned later on in the film, when the film crew ask whether Carl has a back-up plan if no alien shows up.
Overall, ‘Skyman’ was a fascinating watch into someone who had encountered a UFO sighting. It was also a sad glimpse into someone who hadn’t let go of the past and, in doing so, wasn’t living in the present. If anything, ‘Skyman’ serves as a message to people: don’t keep holding onto the past in the hopes that it’ll return, because you’ll miss what’s happening now. Life may be out there, but there’s also life here on Earth, and that is your family and friends.
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