Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, Shane Callahan, Alan Bates
Director: Mark Pellington
Based on true events THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES is an examination, albeit by Hollywood, of a series of inexplicable occurrences through the eyes and mind of reporter John Klien (Richard Gere). The film revolves around Gere’s character and how a man can be driven to extremes in circumstances of grief, in this case the death of Klien’s wife.
John Klien arrives in the town of Point Pleasant, with no recollection of his drive. He’s heading towards a different part of the country when his car suddenly breaks down and Klien goes to the nearest house for help. He is greeted by a local (the excellent Will Patton) who points a gun at him and accuses Gere of coming to his house three nights in a row saying his car has broken down. Obviously Klien thinks that this local, known as Gordon, is crazy, but as Gordon’s wife confirms, Klien has indeed called for the last three nights, Klien maintains his version that he only left Washington that night. Who’s the crazy one now they wonder? This is where the local cop (an excellent turn from Laura Linney) enters the fray and turns Klien’s life on its head. She tells him that his arrival co-insides with strange events that have left the town gripped in fear and confusion and Klien realises that these events are inter-linked with the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife, over 400 miles away….
Forget all the negative press you may have seen on TV or read in the papers: this is an excellent little film and deserves your attention. Although many people criticise Richard Gere for being bland, his approach sets the tone here as serious. There is no ‘man in a moth suite’ as many critics have pointed out, but anything like that would have spoilt the intense suspense that marks all great ‘supernatural’ thrillers. I was specifically reminded of Jacques Tourneur’s NIGHT OF THE DEMON by it’s slick direction, character building (you actually care about these people) and use of location. It’s worth singling out Alan Bates from the excellent cast. Although he isn’t on screen for long, he makes a real impression and wonderfully underplays his role. Although Sean Connery seems to make a living out of stealing the show through bit parts these days, it’s worth pointing out that he has never been as well cast as Bates or the other recent scene-stealer in a bit part, Jon Voight in ALI.
This is a movie for people who are interested in all things supernatural. As the movie progresses you tend to think that things will pan out similarly to A BEAUTIFUL MIND. However as more and more characters are affected by these terrifying visions, you begin to realise that you are building to a devastating conclusion which will involve all the characters in the film as opposed to just Klien.
This film should be recognised for what it is; an intelligent movie with an intriguing title (others include I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE – mad titles, great movies)
Dr Kuma’s verdict: An intriguing, intelligent addition to the supernatural genre.