Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pontypool



Okay, I'll admit it - Mama has been thinking about this movie for DAYS trying to decide what to say about it.

So I suppose - if I've ruminated on a film for this long - it must have something memorable about it.

I thought Pontypool was going to be a zombie film - and while it has elements of the genre, it's not a true zombie film. I also had to buy Pontypool to see it, since Netflix doesn't have it available to rent. (Bastards).




Pontypool only has a handful of characters - and one so irritating I wanted to slap right through the TV, the likes of which I haven't had the urge since the stupid guy who sings the free credit report dot com song.

Officially sealed in my hate box forever.

Pontypool's three main characters are Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), his producer Sidney (Lisa Houle) and technician Laurel Ann (Georgina Reilly). Mazzy is a disc jockey who's clearly used to shaking things up on the radio, but is constantly being reined in by his producer, who just wants Mazzy to stick to the routine of announcing school closings and other local news.


The movie takes place during one snowy dark morning that starts off in the usual way (if you ignore the strange encounter that Mazzy has on his way to work) but slowly turns completely bizarre as reports of riots and murders start filtering in to the station. For me, this is the part of the movie that really works.

The snow, the early morning darkness, the isolation of the basement production studio, and the way that the characters get small pieces of information at a time - and then it's only second hand information that's being described to them. It's frustrating and tense - and it also makes for great suspense.


I'm not going to tell you what's really behind all the violence in this small town - because, as I said, a huge part of the film is getting bits of information as it unfolds.


However, even though I thought I understood the movie - and also read a few articles after watching the movie to HELP me understand it - I'm still kind of like, huh?

But - the head scratching that has ensued would still not stop me from recommending this movie. Stephen McHattie was great - and even though I'm not sure if I was supposed to hate the character of Sydney or not - I'll still watch this movie and I'd still buy it if I had been able to rent it. Because in my book - if you're still rolling the plot around in your brains a week after watching it - that must be worth something.

As an end note - what's even more amazing to me is that when I went to the official movie website:

Pontypool

I found that the director, Bruce McDonald, also directed The Tracey Fragments. I couldn't recall one scene of that horrible mess if you paid me. But what I do know is that when I see the title of that movie I fight the urge to go hide in my closet, rock back and forth and suck my thumb. I love Papa Cash, but there are more than a few pieces of celluloid torture I'd never have been exposed to if it weren't for his questionable choices.

So, Dearhearts, watch Pontypool, and tell me what you think. If you're expecting a straight up zombie film full of action and gore, this probably isn't the film you need to rent. But if you'd like to be challenged to think a little bit - and I'm not saying that I understand all of it - and you like suspense and movies that unfold a little slower than average, this may be a film for you.

-Mother Firefly

4 comments:

Lazarus Lupin said...

hey love your common sense review of pontypool. It is something of a head scratcher and sort of does a hard left from standard horror to off the cuff philosphy/science fiction. The novel "Snowcrash" for example is about the same sort of "invasion" (and is drop dead funny as well).


Have fun
Lazarus Lupin
http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
Art and Review

Mother Firefly said...

Hi Lazarus, thanks for your comment!
Pontypool was so different from what I expected that I really wasn't sure what I thought at first. I think it'd be a great movie to watch on a dark, snowy night.

I'll take a look for that novel as well.

Emily said...

I loved Pontypool, but I too am still toying with it. I had written half a review then planned to rewatch it, but my boyfriend returned it to the library before telling me and now my review is in limbo until I see it again. Great ruminations on language, communication, all that stuff, but I too need a revisit before I try to be smart!

Mother Firefly said...

I hope you get to see it again soon - nice that you found somewhere you can rent it. Since Netflix doesn't carry it, that makes it hard for a lot of people to see it unless they buy it. I'll be looking forward to your review!