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The Crazies - The Ex-Communicator

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March 8th, 2010

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10:12 am - The Crazies
The Crazies is a remake of a 1973 film by George Romero that I haven't seen. It's effectively a zombie movie, though as with many modern films like 28 Days Later they aren't 'actually' zombies (as in revived corpses) but people afflicted by a man-made biological agent. But this is a technicality. Like 28 Weeks Later, a fairly large element of the peril is the military containment of the infection, government disrespect for human rights, and one sees all sorts of parallels with the containment of terrorism and insurgency.

I just fancied going to the pics last night, and there was a selection of middlebrow genre films like Legion and Case 39 and Solomon Kane. I chose The Crazies just because the Sheriff is played by Timothy Olyphant, the Deadwood sheriff.

Anyway, this is a competent, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin zombie film. The journey of each individual from normal to crazy is a little slower and less homogenous than typical in such a film, more affected by individual personality (NB this being a positive thing). It's scary but not overly upsetting, not over-long, and it kept me interested and jumpy right through.

Olyphant was a competent lead. I think he has potential to give more than this, but I am not sure that he will ever be given a platform as good as Deadwood. He was wasted in Die Hard 4. There are two things he did here and in Deadwood, that are a bit more than by-numbers lead acting, and I think a good director would bring these out. One is a sort of deadpan humour, in the middle of a really bad situation. 'The town caught fire again sheriff!' His face doesn't change but he gives off a vibe like Marge Simpson growling. Made me laugh anyway.

The other thing he does well, and this also is from Deadwood, is the 'No more mister nice guy' moment. I know the good man pushed too far is the central action movie cliche, but I just think he changes particularly grimly and dramatically, and makes the cliche interesting again.

Anyway, these are good cards, whether they can be made into a stellar career I don't know.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
My feeling about Bullock was less that he was a good man pushed too far, but that he was a very violent man who mostly managed to contain himself (or got Sol to contain him). Once he lets go, he always takes the violence so far it's clear that he enjoys it.
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, you express very well the quality that I was thinking of. I do think this is more or less always an element of 'a good man pushed too far' - that is, the audience at least long to see the violence, but they need to have some moral justification within the story. Olyphant is bold in showing it (ETA - I mean showing the satisfaction with which violence is embraced). But I think this boldness works better in that context, an ostensible hero, than when he's playing a baddie - I've seen a couple of those and there isn't the same frisson.

Edited at 2010-03-08 01:10 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
thanks for the review going to drag Iain to see this now.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
Well, I hope he likes it - let me know

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