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*** Official THE MIST Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Anthony, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Frank Darabont is an angry man. He doesn't like kids, he doesn't like people, he doesn't like religion, he doesn't like logic, he doesn't like Thanksgiving, and the only thing he likes is Stephen King, and he likes using Stephen King like a blunt instrument, to find whatever sentimentality is inside of you and snuff it out. Mercilessly.

    This doesn't sound like Frank Darabont. The man responsible for adapting Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and improving it in all the ways that make one believe human kind is worth saving, worth believing in. A towering testament to hope and the prevailing spirit of humanity. The man responsible for The Green Mile, further ruminations on people's extraordinary abilities to heal in the face of horror and come out on the other side better people. The man responsible for The Majestic, a schmaltzy, sopping slobbery french kiss to the movies, slathered in lipstick made of nostalgia and cornpone.

    But you need to think of the Frank Darabont that concieved of pulling a kids tendons out of his body, and having a burned alive supernatural child molester use them as marionette strings to puppeteer said kid off the side of a building. That Frank Darabont was so burnt-out and twisted inside that he wrote "Nightmare on Elm Street 3" and had the gall to make Freddy ADORABLE. It's his characterization of the horror icon that is lodged in the public consciousness, even moreso than Craven's own. That Frank Darabont just wants to hurt you. That Frank Darabont would lovingly extract the shining hope he cultivated in your hearts as Andy Dufresne threw his hands to the sky, and he would shit on it. And then punch you in the balls with your shitty hope clenched and dripping in his closed fist.

    That Frank Darabont has made a film that would make that Freddy Krueger wince at how bleakly powerful it is.

    "The Mist" was concieved by Stephen King as his take on B-movies of the 50's and 60's. He was inspired after watching the similarly unforgiving and mean-spirited "Night of the Living Dead," A movie that used the undead to reflect back all the worst elements of humankind at the tail end of the 60's. King crafted a siege story filled with Lovecraftian horrors. He set it in a supermarket and stood logic on one side, reason on the other, and filthy, tentacled horror from planet X outside of it in an ever-present gray mist, with an everyman looking out for his young boy as the protagonist, and a power-hungry witch opposite him.

    Darabont has, as he did with Shawshank, improved King's story. Fat has been trimmed. There are no unnecessary side-trips into love-story land, no spare sentimentality to sweeten the pot. Darabont has taken a serrated edge to King's already small novella, and cleaved every ounce of fat off it.

    Characters are set up perfectly with the barest of brush strokes, but never left wanting. David Drayton's inherent goodness, Mrs. Carmody's barely restrained rage and egomania, Ollie Weeks' sturdy, steadfast dependability, and Amanda Dumfries hopeful naivete are all highlighted and the actors (Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Jones and Amanda Holden, respectively) fill in the shading around King and Darabont's stark black lines to make sure there are three dimensions there to look at. There isn't really a bad performance in the film, not a character that doesn't feel wholly real, and for a movie as economic with its time as this one is, that's truly remarkable. Sam Witwer, Frances Sternhagen, Darabont stalwarts Jeff DeMunn and William Sadler, and of course Andre Braugher, turn in performances that, for being an adaptation of a novella that is essentially an adaptation of an entire genre of film--and SCHLOCK film, at that--sell you COMPLETELY that these are real people.

    It's that rock solid reality that makes the fantastical tangle of blood, tentacles, teeth and legs going on outside the supermarket, in the mist, all that more disconcerting. Roger Ebert once wrote in his review of Aliens that he didn't necessarily LIKE the movie, but gave it 3 1/2 stars simply because once he left it, he was shaking, and the sick, knotted feeling the movie gave him wouldn't leave for roughly a month and a half. I fear for Roger if he ever gets his eyes on this movie.

    That's not to say the movie is flawless: The beasties are well designed and off-putting in all the best ways. You wince not because it's just ugly or weird, you wince because your mind rebels against accepting that something that fundamentally wrong could exist. But Darabont, inspired by Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later," went out and got the crew of FX network's "The Shield" and set to make a fast, dirty, mean little movie, and that means there was not much money for the visual effects. When the story mandates a shot of Cthulhu on Four Legs, this means that at some point, unreality of the less desirable kind is going to show up onscreen. The moments they do are brief, and are not wholly BAD, mostly on a level with Peter Jackson's Spider Pit sequence from "King Kong," but every now and again the work on the beasties detracts from the suspense.

    Luckily, the speed of the film and the atmosphere Darabont drowns the frame in make such visual missteps tiny. It didn't even occur to me until late in the film that there was pretty much no score to speak of. For a man who relied on Thomas Newman's score to lift Shawshank to the levels it hit, I would have never guessed he could use silence just as deftly as he used strings. The reason I noticed the absence of music came when he introduced the music--keening warbling reminiscent of "Gladiator" or "300." Hyperdramatic Bombast at JUST the wrong moment. It doesn't sink the film, but people who haven't bought in to the bitter, acidic meal Darabont is serving will likely snicker under their breath and wonder why Leonidas doesn't just stride out of the mist and shout the tentacles and spikes off the things in the mist.

    And Darabont's ruthlessness might also shut people out of the film before they ever get to the ending. There are horrible, grisly deaths in this movie. There is suffering and screaming, and none of it is pretty or quick or stylized. It is clumsy and desperate and wide-eyed, unblinking and open-mouthed. And that's before the question of human sacrifice is posed. The movie barrels through and collects and amplifies fear and misery so well that the fact the setting of the human sacrifice discussion comes by the beer cooler near the cereal aisle doesn't even register as remotely silly. It's the mendacity that makes it more horrific.

    It is inside the store where Darabont adds to King's story, gives it a sour theme and gets it drunk on indignant cynicism in the face of hope or faith. And it's outside the store, in the final minutes of the film, where the most horrific events of the movie take place, and they involve not a single tentacled, spiked, bloodsucking insectoid freak. What happens at the tail end of this flick will anger some audience members who came this far in the narrative looking for any sort of redemption or ray of hope to cut through the gray slowly suffocating the film. Because Darabont goes the other way. Way the other way.

    And yet, it's not bleak and mean for the sake of being bleak and mean. There's more going on there than just relentlessly punishing the audience for having an outlook on life lighter than the shade of arterial spray. I just don't think people will be prepared, really, for Darabont to be the one doing this to them. Or King, even. King's written mean, spiky stories before whose whole purpose is to stab your hand for picking it up while he giggles like a loon at getting you a good one. King never wrote anything this mean, and Darabont never swung anything like a closed fist and smashed you in your softer parts with it before, either. He declares his intentions to do so right up front, if you know what you're looking for: David Drayton paints movie posters for a living, like Drew Struzan. Bright, watercolored pieces of beauty, in homage to cinema, drying on canvas. And Darabont lets you look at them for 5 or 6 seconds. And then with no real warning, and no bombast, he smashes a tree into them, through a window.

    And then he cuts to black.
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Well-Known Member

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    Didn't like it. Well, that's not true. I liked most of it, but the ending failed me. I can't really discuss it without heavy spoilers, and most people who would guess my reaction to the end would have it wrong.

    I don't think the themes earned the unbearable bleakness of the final few minutes. The director took me to a very hard place, pulled the rug out (and it was obvious it was coming), and it doesn't feel earned.
    That said, it's very well made. Jane is well above average as usual, and there are plenty of very solid character turns. Most people are going to like it. I simply didn't.

    Heavy spoilers (meaning see the film first...because this will RUIN it)
    I'd be very interested to see the breakdown in parents vs. non-parents' reactions. I'm willing to bet it's at least noticeable. If a director is willing to allow a good man, a good father, to kill his own child, then he needs to earn it. And Darabont did. It's completely awful, and it left me feeling hollow. And then I feel he turns it on it's head for a cheap dimestore novel "twist" that I saw coming the minute he used an audio cue to indicate one thing (but meant another). The immediacy of the decision was OK, but he wouldn't spare a moment of tenderness for his son? Maybe that would have made the scene too hard.

    In short, that utter bleakness looks cool on the page, and possibly plays well with folks that don't sing a little boy to sleep sometimes. It wasn't the choice to shoot everyone (I was still on board with the tale, even after that), but the events after Drayton leaves the car ring false. Too pat, too ugly, and without purpose.

    I agree with most of RA's post, though. It accomplishes exactly what the director wants, and lingers long after. There is an utter sense of alienness to one side of the story, and awful reality to the other. It's as pessimistic a film as I've seen, and while I can argue numerous plot details, I can't argue with some of the truth in the ugliness. As a basic optimist, it's a difficult pill to swallow, and I think he cheats a bit. But just a bit.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Mist". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Aaron Cooke

    Aaron Cooke Well-Known Member

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    Saw this last night. The book is one of my all time favorite stories so i was prepared to be very let down and i wasn't. I enjoyed it. I didn't mind the ending either, although the timing seemed kind of compressed (meaning from the time they ran out of gas to the time the tanks rolled through). Loudest cheers i've heard in a theater since a fanboy crowd saw yoda vs. dooku when ollie shot mrs. carmody.
    not a perfect movie but a damn nice adaptation of a near perfect book.

    I really hope durabont decides to make the long walk soon which is (along with the dark tower) one of the few king stories I like more than the mist.

    (Admin note: spoiler tags added.)
     
  5. Rhett_Y

    Rhett_Y Well-Known Member

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    Oh man... what a ride....... I saw the very end coming.. as soon as he did what he did.... but you know what the scene and movie as a whole still leaves a taste in my mouth..... what a good movie.........
     
  6. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Well-Known Member

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    For me the movie rocked all the way through. Yes, the middle sagged a bit, but I was tense all the way through the entire film and never bored. The SFX never bothered me and the entire cast rocked. Even characters with only a few lines were well defined.


    I loved the shooting style - gave it a real you are there vibe.


    My main knock would be the wailing music near the end - sorry Frank that style has long been mined out.


    Finally the ending. Goddam what an ending.! Black man. Very dark. What a gut punch.


    The film has a lot of nice litte touches starting with the painting of Roland the Gunslinger from King’s Dark Tower novels.


    I have finally found the perfect bookend movie for John Carpenter’s - The Thing.



    Stephen King fans, or Frank Darabont fans; don’t despair. The Mist will give you your fix.


    I’d give it a 9 out 10.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I laughed at many of the horror-laden scenes in this film, but it ran a little long for the story at hand, and the ending stumbles badly. The use of FUD with a religious bent by Mrs. Carmoody got really old, even in a lifeboat situation offering a look at group dynamics scared out of their minds of an unknown but lethal external forces.

    Director and screenwriter Darabont does a good job with the Stephen King novella material, but the ending is just awe-inspiringly dumb because it was so underwritten and unsupported by what came before it.

    I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
     
  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Well-Known Member

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    "What the hell is Frank Darabont's problem!?"

    That's what I said to my friends when we left the theater after witnessing one of the cruelest endings to a film that the three of us could recall. I was both angered and disgusted at the end, why he did it I don't know and I also don't know how it got past the studio and test audiences.

    I told everyone that I know who was interested in seeing it that when the chracters run out of gas, leave the theater and make up their own happy ending because I can guarentee the real one would piss them off.

    I understand what the intent was, to show how humans react in such an extreme situation but Darabont did it with all the sublty of an anvil being dropped on one's foot, I did like the film up until the final 5 min which was the equvilant of taking a sewing needle and popping a hot air balloon, the way I felt about the film when it was over recalled how I felt when I was a kid and my kite would get all tangled up in a tree, powerlines or the string snapped and it was carried away forever by the wind...sad. [​IMG]

    I also didn't care for the whole explanation for the creatures, dimensional rips
    are something that they used to deal with almost weekly on either Star Trek, Angel or The Twilight Zone, nothing original there. Have to go with Earl Basset from Tremors...I was hoping they were from outer space.

    The Mist officially ends my admiration of Frank Darabont who comes across with this film as Frank Capra gone mad and who's 3 previous films are wonderful examples of Hollywood gone by, even The Majestic which I loved and felt was highly underrated. I hope that he's in a better mood when he makes his next film.

    [​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]'s
     
  9. Chris Tedesco

    Chris Tedesco Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just saw it and I'm numb. The movie affected me, and either good or bad, it did, and that says something.

    I have a 3 year old boy so that might have added to the emotional impact with the overall story, but holy smokes that ending....whoah.

    Overall I liked it. The ending I'm still up in the air about. The acting was suprisingly better than I would have thought, suspense was good, characters good. The religious chick was seriously getting on my nerves though.

    I was going to watch this with my wife, she decided though to go to sleep instead...I think that was a wise choice.

    Overall I'd give it an 8 out of 10.
     
  10. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Well-Known Member

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    Finally saw it, 4 out of 10. Acting subpar as expected, nice shooting style, it was the best thing in the movie. The story dragged in the middle, a bit to much time is spent on the sunday lady and the ending... well the ending is where suspension of disbelief is destroyed.
     
  11. MarkMel

    MarkMel Well-Known Member

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    I agree, I didn't like it either. Didn't live up to book at all. Would've been much more effective to not show or barely show the creatures in the mist instead of the crappy CGI versions of the creatures that were shown. It went down hill from the loading dock scene when the tentacles came thru the roll-up, any built up suspense was gone from that point.

    The CGI looked like leftovers from the Dreamcatcher "sh*t weasels"
     
  12. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't even get through the entire thing. Everything felt clumsy. From the acting to the lame CGI.

    It had my interest until the loading dock scene. It was at that point I felt the first pangs of "this is silly, I think I'm going to turn it off." But I stuck with it and eventually lost interest in it and fell asleep.

    Really disappointing as I was looking forward to seeing this.
     
  13. MarkMel

    MarkMel Well-Known Member

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    I wanted to see this but did not look forward to it as King's books more often than not transfer well to the screen. So I went in knowing it would not be good.
     

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