Wednesday, August 1, 2012
THE MIST (STEPHEN KING'S THE MIST) (2007)
Directed by Frank Darabont
Thomas Jane - David Drayton
Marcia Gay Harden - Mrs. Carmody
Laurie Holden - Amanda Dunfrey
A military experiment goes wrong and unleashes creatures upon a small town where a group of people hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives from the monsters outside, as well as from the inside.
Last year I was going to review this but my copy of the film wouldn't play in my DVD player so I decided to wait till this year. With that I was able to get the black and white version of the film which director Frank Darabont wanted to put out but the studios said no to. Well, now that I have the black and white version and the Darabont's true vision of the film how can I not review it this month in honor of H.P. Lovecraft's birthday.
As a word of warning, there will be spoilers in this review. You have been warned!
I have to start out by talking about the actors, like that's any surprise, because it will be easier to do the rest of the review after I put my thoughts down about the acting. Thomas Jane for the most part did a great job as famous artist David Drayton. Jane though has the distinction of being the actor that overplayed his role as well, with one scene sticking out the most as the shining example of this. The scene is at the end of the film after he's the only surviving member of his group and as he lets out a scream, it's just off. It just seems like Jane was trying to hard to show despair. Once was forgivable, yet it happens again at the very end of the film as well and it brings you out of the film. Thankfully this was at the end so it's not as bad as if it happened half way through. The one stand out performance in the film is from Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Carmody. If there was ever a villain created in literature or film that you as the viewer truly hate, it is this character. Harden knows just the right way to put her lines or how to phrase a sentence to bring her character to life in ways that is horrendous yet at the same time all too human.
Albeit The Mist is a monster film, this aspect of it takes a back seat to the drama and dilemmas that happen concerning the characters because of them though. It can be said this is a character study more than anything else and a powerful one at that, one that runs through most of Stephen Kings novels. As in what happens when you put ordinary people in situations that are out of the ordinary. The Mist does this amazingly as it shows the worst in people and what they are capable of once their set sanity is besieged. What comes as no surprise is that some people will use this to further their own personnel beliefs no matter who it hurts. Yet there will be people who try to keep doing what is right no matter what and how the two factions will always be in conflict. The factions that form around David Drayton and Mrs. Carmody are the perfect examples of this as Mrs. Carmody keeps using religion as a reason for everything that is going on and that everyone should follow the Bible and everything it says to protect them. Even when her zealousness infects others and makes all of her believers that follow her sayings into a cult of Jim Jones or Charles Manson like proportions, including killing in the name of God and using fear to induce terror, they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. This comes as a shock to those that are more level headed as they are able to see and view the oncoming destruction from this as the group that forms around David Drayton does and their struggle to escape a situation worse than what is happening out in the world.
Director Frank Darabont does an amazing job creating a film that pulls no punches and doesn't go for the happy go lucky ending most films in the genre go for. He understands that good doesn't always win out, and all to often those that are evil will get the upper hand and keep it. Darabont uses the the setting of the film, a town surrounded by mist to his advantage. An example of this is when the bigger creatures show up they are shrouded in mist which in return has the viewer fill in the missing pieces with their imagination which is always worse than what can be shown on screen as I mentioned before in another review. The creatures that are shown are creepy and disgusting thanks to their design and what it most unsettling about them is that they have eyes that are black pinpoints, which shows that they are behaving as animals do, which is to mate and eat. They are animalistic in the truest sense, brutal, efficient, and have no reasoning capability whatsoever. The Mist got a lot of hate for the ending of the film, but I for one loved how it ended as it shows that every choice made always has a consequence from the small to the unfortunate. More than anything else the film shows that the thing to be most afraid of is the human animal as everything else compared to it seems lite in its wake.
Well, she did want blood for her God!
As a species we're fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?
In addition to the Gunslinger painting at the beginning of the film, the movie shares another connection with other Stephen King works. The line, "My life for you", spoken by Mrs. Carmody in the film, (although not in the novella), originally appeared in the novel, The Stand, as spoken by Donald Merwin Elbert, (the Trashcan Man), first in his dreams, and then later in person, to Randall Flagg, (the Dark Man or the Walkin' Dude). The line later appeared as dialogue between other villainous characters and subsequent incarnations of Randall Flagg, such as Walter o'Dim in the Dark Tower series novels, and Flagg, in The Eyes of the Dragon.
Frank Darabont agreed to make the film with Dimension only under the condition that no matter what, they wouldn't change the scripted ending. They agreed.
Amanda has an empty six-shot revolver and two full speed-loaders in her purse. This means there are twelve rounds of ammunition for the revolver. During the course of the movie, exactly twelve rounds are fired before the revolver is out of ammunition.
According to Cinefex magazine, there is a favorite scene near the end of the book that was not in the script. In the scene, David Dreyton and the others with him in the vehicle, witness something. Darabont originally had excised this scene from his script. However, several of the people working with the special effects company CafeFX, convinced him to put it back into the film.Which I'm happy Darabont did put it back in.