Lacks the Interest of Stone's "Nixon"
Reviewed by criddic2 for W. at 2011-04-22 02:14:07
Like him or hate him, George W. Bush was one of the more engaging personalities to occupy the White House. Josh Brolin does capture some of that in this movie, but neither he or the director (Oliver Stone) seem to know what they want to say about the man. Some scenes go for muted satire, while others go for strained drama. Very few have the feeling of authenticity. Maybe that's because they couldn't (or wouldn't) explore these people as they really are, going mainly for who they are perceived to be by some. Stone was able to bring compelling character backround and historical balance to his "Nixon" in 1995 (with the help of the great Anthony Hopkins). Here he doesn't even approach that. It delves lightly, rather than deeply, into the story of a president who was popular enough to win re-election and controversial enough to inspire fierce debate over his policies. We don't get into much of that in 'W,' since the focus is on the first term and the father/son relationship between two presidents.
This is a B-movie with a star performance by Anthony Hopkins. It is in the vein, stylistically, as "The Exorcist" and "The Omen." It has its theme in common with the former and it approaches the atmosphere of the latter, though it does match either in quality. However, it eschews gore in favor of character and is more effective because of it. Anthony Hopkins is emmensely entertaining.
As a general rule, I don't tend to like horror movies, unless they're exceptional. ("Alien" and "The Sixth Sense" would top my list there.) I don't go near slasher crap, and I much prefer suspense.
"The Mist" is Horror with a capital 'H', but I watched it because it was Frank Darabont adapting Stephen King (plus, there seemed to be a bit of a sci-fi element to it), and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was totally blown away. This movie grabbed me by the jugular from the first scenes and didn't let go.
Even with all the terrifying things coming from the mist, the greatest horror the characters face comes from each other; and while many people complain about the ending, to me it was incredibly effective, and absolutely devastating.
If I have any problem with "The Mist", it was with the uneven CGI--at times brilliant, and at others too obviously fake. But the story hooked me so much, none of that mattered. A masterpiece.