Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Happening


The Happening's plot revolves around a mysterious neurotoxin that causes any person who breathes it in to commit suicide. The film follows Science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), who starts attempting to escape it with his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), best friend Julian (John Leguizamo) and Julian's daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez). Julian leaves them to find his wife, only to breathe in the toxin and slit his wrists. Elliot, Alma and Jess continue crossing the country trying to outrun the toxin and are joined by a variety of people, all of whom commit suicide after breathing the toxin, except for two of them - teenagers called Josh (Spencer Breslin) and Jared (Robert Bailey Jr) - who are shot dead.

Although the film's premise is very uninspired and repetitive - there are only so many times you can watch a person commit suicide before losing interest - the first mass suicide scene leaves a lump in your throat as builders in New York throw themselves off a scaffolding and just break on the ground below, it really makes your stomach turn. There are potential moments where you could briefly regain interest, however, when the toxin is catching up to the main characters and you wonder whether it will catch them. However, as soon as you realize they will gain a bit more of a head start on it your interest quickly goes and you're just sitting there bored waiting for the next bit of action. As for the ending it is a complete anti-climax; Elliot is in the basement of a house they are holding out in, while Alma and Jess are in the wendy house/shed. Unable to reach each other due to the toxin being just outside. Eventually after much emotional discussions through a talking tube that goes between the two they realize they will die and decide to die in each other's arms, so they run outside to hold each other and die, only to discover that the toxin has abated as fast as it started. Throughout their discussion you are feeling more and more anxious for them to survive, which just can't be explained, only for them to survive, when it is built up for them to have a heart-breaking death arm-in-arm and you just find yourself groaning.

In short, director M. Night Shyamalan did a very poor job, though some of the suicides are quite interesting to watch - so if you just want to see a hundred or so suicides then you can skip out a good sixty of the ninety minutes.

Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, Ashlyn Sanchez, John Leguizamo, Spencer Breslin, Robert Bailey Jr, Betty Buckley, Jeremy Strong, Frank Collinson, Victoria Clark, Alan Ruck, Reggie Kania, Yonathan Parra.

Golden Raspberry nominations: Worst Picture, Worst Director (M. Night Shyamalan), Worst Screenplay (M. Night Shyamalan), Worst Actor (Mark Wahlberg).

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