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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The Mist

Yep, still knocking back more films for the year, though I will say that the next review I will make will certainly be the last of the year. However, the next review will, well, be dealt with in the next review (duh). Anyway, what we have on our hand's is a horror film which in my opinion, has been horribly overlooked in the past year, The Mist. Frank Darabont, the director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, has not done a lot lately, so it is nice to see him dabble in a genre with which he is only familiar in the world of screenwriting. While this is unfamiliar territory to Darabont, he is once again adapting a Stephen King story, so in many respects he is still in his comfort zone. So, the of The Mist goes that a number of people are trapped in a local supermarket, due to unknown reasons concealed by The Mist which has descended upon the town. That is all that I will reveal about the plot, for this is one of those stories which will grip you from start to finish, and you will not be able to predict the next scene by any means. This is primarily due to the masterful screenplay that has been written by Darabont. Taking upon himself this film's screenwriting duties, Darabont uses his experience in screen-writing to great effort, transforming what was a rather limited novella plot-wise. Structure-wise, the script is more or less impregnable, with the story spoon-fed to us, bit by bit, never giving us enough to know the whole story, so that we are virtually left in the dark until the last minute. The solid structure is also backed up by the well-written dialogue, which does indeed provoke the desired reactions from the audience. Also, the dialogue does not come across as too big for these actor's shoes. Thomas Jane heads up the ensemble cast, and for a man who is best known to many as The Punisher and the guy with bleached blond hair in Deep Blue Sea, he does not seem out of place in this film. Jane portrays the everyman character of David Drayton very well, and his playing of the part of a suffering man who must be strong for his son comes across rather strongly also. However, the acting performance of the film must go to that of Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs Carmody. As an evangelical religious fanatic, she creates a believable and rather terrifying villain. Consisently quoting Revelations from the bible, her "premonitions" come true, creating a following inside the supermarket for Carmody. Harden gives a rather showy performance, however does not conceal the human underneath the tough fundamentalist vessel, creating a neat balancing act. There are moments when she looks horrified by the following she has created, but nonetheless goes along with the act. Mrs Carmody comes across as the true monster of the film, and that idea of the true monsters being the humans on the inside, living in their boxes, is one of the many themes which comes across well in this film. The themes that also exist in this film include that of religion and the criticisms of the military. All of these things are presided under by the direction of Darabont with great skill, not losing control of what could have been a raging beast to direct. However, as always when encountered by great films, The Thin White Dude usually ends up waving his fist or tossing his keyboard through the window. While I will say that the above statement was a rather great exaggeration, what I will say is that while The Mist certainly has a lot to offer, it is a tad bit predictable. In these type of siege location movies, the same things always happen, and the same people always seem to die. In terms of personal enjoyment though, this predictability, while blantantly obvious at times, was nonetheless quenched by some real labrinthine twists in the tail, some of which are genuinely shocking and unexpected. Also, as the old saying goes, it's what's onscreen that counts. Predictable at times or not, Darabont has the film made in such a way that most of the time it is non-intrusive. This is my only real gripe, for the film is otherwise suitable, and I would go so far as to call it a masterpiece. The film has some fine acting, particularly from Marcia Gay Hayden in a behemoth of a performance. However, it is Frank Darabont who deserves most credit. He directs what I'm sure must have been an extremely hard film to make very well, and has written a wonderful script, creating one of the best scripts of the entire year. I would also go so far as to say that The Mist is the best horror film that we have seen since 28 Days Later, and that the film has the best twist since The Sixth Sense. Don't even bother going on the internet and spoiling the movie for yourself, just go and watch the best horror film in years, full-stop.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 9.1/10

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