Knee-jerk review: "The Mist"

1. Writer-director Frank Darabont has certainly carved out an odd niche for himself. He's written and directed four feature films and three are Stephen King adaptations, including this one. The best, obviously, is The Shawshank Redemption. But you knew already knew that, right?
2. It's a good movie, but it never quite becomes a "great" movie. Or even a "pretty good" movie.
3. What the heck happened to Thomas Jane's career? It all looked so promising for him back in 1999 when he was the star of the deeply strange, steroid-shark thriller Deep Blue Sea. He's got a stoic and steely charm about him that's not unlike Steve McQueen. If they ever remake Bullitt - and they probably will/are - Jane's the guy.
4. You may have heard about the ending. Yes, it's different from the original Stephen King novella, but not necessarily better. Whereas the novella ended on a note of hopeful ambiguity, the movie answers all of the questions and offers up a very depressing twist moments before the fade-out. At first it feels like a real sucker punch, a cinematic middle finger offered to the audience for no good reason other than it's "cool" to do it to us. A twist for twist's sake, much like the dark and pointless ending of The Departed. But upon further review, Darabont may actually be onto something. If the story is all about faith and hope in the face of tragedy and certain death, then the ending undeniably suggests what can go wrong if one stops holding out hope.
5. Marcia Gay Harden's always great, even if she's stuck here with the stereotypical religious kook role that's so prevalent in King's stories.
6. The mist refugees, all huddled up in that supermarket, display a curious lack of preparation and foresight. They know something's out there, they have hours and hours to prepare... and when the creatures attack, these people run around like the Keystone Kops. It's the kind of phony moment that creates exciting action and suspense in the story (i.e. someone catches on fire and no one knows where the extinguishers are), but does so at the expense of logic and plausibility.
7. Best part of the movie is Toby Jones as bagger Ollie.
8. Points must be deducted for the blatant Aliens rip-off involving cocooned people.
9. Additional points must be deducted for stooping to explain the mist with one of the most cliched and tired excuses possible. It might have been cool and intriguing back in 1990, before "The X-Files" debuted on Fox.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:41 PM

    When Ollie shot Marcia Gay Harden's character, the theater erupted in applause. Good or bad? Anyway, my sentiments exactly. I liked the film up until taking it in the backside with that ending. I got shafted without any lube. PISSED OFF.