Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Mist

The Mist is an interesting film. It resembles Starship Troopers in many ways: it's about people fighting massive bugs, it's a fairly close recreation of an older type of SF, and it's a rather broad left wing allegory wrapped round right wing iconography. But which is the heart of the film, the lefty parable or the right wing metaphor? And is it ironic or not? Also, like Starship Troopers it's extremely silly, with rather cheap actors (and Frank Pembleton - yay).

In other ways The Mist is nothing like Starship Troopers. It resembles a black and white cold war 1950s SF film, rather than a lurid golden age SF pulp novel. It's an elevator episode (in fact it's very like that recent Doctor Who set in the bus) not a space opera. It's frugal rather than expensive.

At the start of the film the hero is shown to be a populist sell-out artist, painting lurid movie posters. He seems to be working on a Clint Eastwood poster in fact, and the casting resembles a Clint Eastwood film: the short-arse side-kick, the feisty blonde, the patrician old lady, the bloody minded ethnic person, the cute kid. You know the way Clint ladles that kind of thing on: 'I am not a simple macho stereotype'. Except it all revolves on the superior white butch man. Who - hilariously - takes his shirt off in front of the blonde in a completely gratuitous shot. It's Galaxy Quest all over again.

But all of this might be neutralised/ironised by having a Clint Eastwood poster as the first shot in the film.

The plot (this is in all the reviews so it's not a bad spoiler) is a blatant allegory about Bush, fundamentalism, Iraq etc, as a religious nut-case preys on people's fears, offering them simplistic violent solutions. But is this just a bolt-on? Why does the mother always disappear at the start of these films? Why are Hollywood films always about the father&son? Why do the black people get killed first? Why are all the active people men? Is this still irony?

I thought the last ten minutes were exceptionally good. I can't say anything about that, but I thought the last section pushed the film up a whole notch.

So, a silly bug movie, that I quite enjoyed on its own terms, and I also thought interesting in its politics and (I could have had a whole post on this) lots of homage to other SF films and images.
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