Nicole Kidman

The Invasion

I love Nicole Kidman, though I think that most people do. Which was the main pull to watch this film. I enjoyed the other film adaptations The Body Snatchers that I’ve seen. Which is limited to the 1978, and 1993 versions. Though even with the addition of this version, my favorite is still the 1978 version. Because Donald Sutherland. The Invasion is close though, through the power of Nicole Kidman’s performance and the films many great moments.

The Invasion opens with a shuttle crashing and falling to earth during reentry. The debris from the crash is infested with an alien virus that can survive the freezing environment of space and the burning reentry. The virus infects people and taking them over when they enter REM sleep. One of the first people infected is the CDC director Tucker Kaufman (Jeremy Northam). Tucker’s ex-wife Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) is a practicing psychiatrist, who has patient that thinks her husband is no longer her husband. Having a complete change of temperament. Slowly Carol starts noticing strange behavior in those around her. Including Tucker’s sudden interest in being a father to his son Oliver (Jackson Bond) and asking for visitation. As her fears mount and after the discovery of a strange skin is discovered at a party. Carol turns to her boyfriend Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig). He in turn goes to his friend Dr. Stephen Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), and they learn of the spread of virus. Which is being spread by Tucker through a flu vaccine. After realizing that Tucker is infected she goes to rescue her son, who she has also learned is immune due to being sick as a baby with a specific strain of the chicken pox. But as Carol searches for her son, things get more complicated after she becomes infected by Tucker. Forced to stay awake and find her son, before the infected learn of his immunity.

I liked the build up. The slow start of the familiar that builds upon itself as the film progresses. Layering upon itself. As it like its predecessors address the concept of a world with out violence is a world with out humanity and anyone is capable of anything in the right situation plays out beautifully.

My favorite parts were the quieter moments after the Carol has realized of the invasion. When other non infected warn her on the subway and later when she escapes. To avoid emotion as they dont have any. Something that’s used against us by them. The work great and add a great deal to the tension of the film.

It was the cast that really stood out to me. With exception of Daniel Craig, who felt dry and unemotional. Nicole Kidman of course did an outstanding job. But like he’s done before my favorite performance was from Jeffery Wright. Who, while only a smaller supporting role uses his screen time the most effectively.

Final thoughts, Overall I really enjoyed this version and while not my favorite I can still admit that it’s well done.  The acting is solid though not as well done in the 1978 version and the story is solid. I like the undercurrents of the film, though the get very heavy handed with them. But if your a fan of invasion films or the other versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers I would recommend giving this film a watch. 7/10

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The Others

others_ver1_xlgI remember watching this film for the first time back in 2001 when it was released and having not watched it in over a decade, I feel I can say that this film is still solid. The Others holds up so well due to the film relying on storytelling, atmosphere and sense of impending doom to create its tension. The Others is one of the rare big budget, well cast horror films that seem to pop up every couple of years and I love it when they do. I feel horror often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to Hollywood.

The Others follows Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) along with her two children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). Grace is a devout Catholic and does what she can to impress her beliefs onto her children. Both children suffer from an unknown illness that is characterized by extreme photosensitivity, causing them to have intensely structured lives to avoid exposing the children to sunlight. Something that could easily be fatal for the pair. One day a group three new servants, Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and mute Lydia (Elaine Cassidy). The arrival of these new servants coincides with a number of strange occurrences around the house, doors opening by themselves as well as the curtains. Anne claims to see a boy Victor in her room, who tells her that the house is there’s and they have to leave. The strange occurrences continue, causing Grace to become more convinced that they’re not alone in the house. After a thorough search of the house and finding nothing, she decides to brave the thick fog that has surrounded the house since the film’s beginning to get the aid of a local priest to bless the home. The servants watch her leave while burring tombstones under a pile of leaves. Out in the fog Grace becomes lost and while stumbling through the fog comes across her husband, Charles (Christopher Eccleston), who she was lost while he was away fighting in the war and was thought dead. The two reconnect briefly before he claims he must leave again, for the front. When speaking with her daughter Grace sees her as an old woman and attacks her, only to realize in horror she had attacked her daughter. Later the curtains go missing and Grace throws out the servants. While tossing the house in a desperate search for the curtains, she finds a photo of the servants dead. Meanwhile Anne and Nicolas sneak out of the house, it now being night, to go look for their father and come across the servants tombstones. The servants appear and the two children flee back the house and their mother. She takes the children inside quickly and locks the servants outside. Mrs. Mills reveals that she and the other servants died fifty years ago from tuberculosis and that now Grace most now go face “Them”, the “Intruders”….

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I love this movie. Adore, admire, appreciate even, but not love and it’s not the fault of the film really. It’s a beautiful film, that’s simply a pleasure to look at. Javier Aguirresrobe knocked it out of the park in the cinematography department.

Though great cinematography does wonders, it still meaningless if the film isn’t equally well written. The Others is well written, with a slow, steady beat that just keeps building, as any good thriller should. Alejandro Amenabar did an incredible job as the writer, director, and with the musical score. Which I do have a little problem with and I’m not sure if it’s just me. But when I ever I thought back on this film I would remember a few things, Nicole Kidman being fantastic, the films twist ending, and that they talked so quiet and the music was always so loud. Something that was once again a problem. The music always seemed to drown out the rest of the film.

Final thoughts, the music being way too loud is my only real complaint. It’s just one of those films that you have to watch with a remote in your hand. I will also admit that the films pacing might be a little slow for some people. But, those people probably aren’t into ghost movies as they tend, in my experience, to be a bit on the slow side. Like westerns and unfortunately the twist ending isn’t that big of a twist and raises more questions for me than it settles. Still, this film is amazing and I feel it’s a must watch if you’re a fan of ghost films and/or Nicole Kidman. 9/10