WARNING! Do not mistake this movie for ‘The Fog’. Though the premise is about the same, ‘The Mist’, it is different. It is based on the novel by Stephen King, and is directed by Frank Darabont, who has directed two other films based on King’s works; ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Green Mile’. Here, Darabont has tweaked the ending a little bit to give the movie the best damn ending I’ve seen. Though it’s not exactly new (though it was shown in cinemas recently, it was released last year in the U.S.), I suggest that you pick up the DVD when it’s out and watch it on a quiet, lonely night.
The movie stars Thomas Jane (‘The Punisher’, ‘The Sweetest Things’) and Marcia Gay Harden (‘Pollock’, ‘Mystic River’) and it’s about…surprise surprise, a mysterious mist that envelopes a small American town, bringing along with it some strange blood-sucking creatures. The story follows David Draymont (Jane), a poster artist whose house was partially destroyed one night by a storm. Leaving his wife behind, he goes to the town’s supermarket the next day with his son Billy (Nathan Gamble) and his neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher). While in the supermarket, an old man with nose-bleed comes running helter-skelter inside, screaming that a mist is coming and that there’s something in it that took John Lee (we never know who John Lee is). Thus, everyone who was still in the supermarket, employees and customer alike, barricades the doors and pray to dear God that whatever is in that mist would not get inside.
Basically, the movie is about survival amongst those still in the supermarket. It’s also about trust, about who they they believe has the best idea to help them in getting through this predicament. Of course, there are those who think that they should get out and get help and those who prefer to stay inside. David, who cares very much for his son’s well being, believes that they should remain in the supermarket and use whatever supplies they could find as a means of self defense. Norton, on the other hand, was very reluctant to believe in anything that David has to say and tries to convert everyone into believing that the only way to survive is by getting outside. And then there is Mrs. Carmody, played by Marcia Gay Harden. I don’t know why she was not nominated for an Oscar for this movie because she gave an incredible performance, where you just love to hate the character. She plays this pious woman, who was ranting throughout the whole movie that all this is happening all due to society’s neglect towards God and religion. I don’t want to say much here but trust me, you’ll be cursing at her every time she opens that mouth of hers (I know I did). As far as the cast go, I’ll be doing the movie a disfavor if I don’t stress on how good Nathan Gamble is in the film. The kid was brilliant. Its not that he’s got many lines, but there’s some sort of cuteness in his acting. Very believable, natural and real. Given his young age, that really is something.
As far as the creatures go, lets just say that its not Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) or Weta working on them. Rather, it’s some company called CafeFX. I think they’re the same company behind the visual effects for Pan’s Labyrinth (Please note that the Faun and the Pale Man were the works of the make-up department and not the effects department). Anyway, I would say that the designs were pretty neat, but they do look rather fake, especially this one particular flying species.
What it lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity. There are many different species. I would say around 7 to 8, but you do not get to see all of them up close. Some just make brief appearances (like the gigantic one towards the end, which I would rather see in action). Besides looking a tad bit scary, I guess the intimidating factor about them is how they’ll affect you if attacked. There is also the fact that you won’t last 10 seconds in the mist with these monsters lurking around. Then again, the emphasis of this movie was on the human characters, and not on the creatures. It was not even explained clearly where they came from (some sort of military experiment gone wrong. The military should probably just stop experimenting).
The best thing about this movie, or should I say worst (because I actually hated what happened) is the ending. Don’t worry, I would not spoil it for you. It’s not a complicated ending, nor does it involve a Potter-like twist. Actually, it’s quite simple. It’s just how Darabont builds up his characters that when you see what happens at the end, you’ll be breathless. Literally. I was actually out of breath for about 5 to 10 minutes after the movie ended. I also shifted my position from lying on the couch to kneeling on the carpet when the film reached its end, cursing Hollywood for making such an ending possible. Yes, I was screaming and that was the first time I’ve ever experienced something like that. Because of that, I am unsure if I should recommend this movie to people or should simply ask them to avoid it. Trust me, the feeling will still linger for hours and hours after you’ve watched it. And yeah, Mark Isham’s eerie theme at the end didn’t help much, either.
So, should you or shouldn’t you watch this movie? After thinking about it for a bit, you should do yourself a favour and watch this ASAP. I have read elsewhere that the best way to enjoy this movie is by watching the black and white version of the film, which is available on the 2-Disc DVD (in fact, that’s actually what Darabont intended for the theatrical release). Unfortunately, I had to make do with the coloured version for now. Still, I’ll be looking forward for the 2-Disc version when it reaches our shores.
Fazil is able to breathe now.