Thursday, September 21, 2006

"THE WICKER MAN"
Nicholas Cage, Kate Beahan, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski, Frances McConroy

"Some Sacrifices must be Made"

Cinema 9, SM Megamall

Sister Willow

I was hesitant to watch this film because of its horror theme. But then I said hey it's Nicholas Cage so what the heck, go for it. It has to be told that I have developed this tradition of watching a Nicholas Cage film every year on my birthday. If memory serves me right, I saw "Windtalkers", "Matchstick Men" and "The Rock" on my natal day. This year I am in luck because "World Trade Center" opens here on October 18, the eve of my birthday. Hurray!

Ok now back to "The Wicker Man". Funny how trailers can be so deceiving. You would think it was some horror/ghost apparition story (the genre which I don't really appreciate) but once the film unfolded I found myself laughing. Well nope it isn't a comedy either but I was chuckling at how ridiculous the premise/plot is. How the main character was too traumatized to realize he was being played for a fool. How he was blinded by some sense of guilt and responsibility to redeem himself from past mistakes.

Edward Malus is a police officer who failed to save the lives of two people. They burn right in front of his eyes. While recovering from this traumatic experience, he receives a letter (in a font that was so medieval, he should have known better) from his ex fiancee who solicits his help. Apparently her daughter, Rowan has mysteriously disappeared. He hops on a small plane and lands in this mystical place called "Summersisle". The place is rather spooky, mostly inhabited by women in ethereal flowing dresses with names like Beech, Oak, Thorn and Rose who address each other as 'Sister'. Main honcho or the central Queen Bee of the island is Sister Summersisle, herself. A mother hen type of persona who has rather twisted ideas about the role of men in society. Thus begins Officer Malus' hunt for the missing child of his ex fiancee, a freespirit named Willow. The film sneaks up a twist towards the final part. It ends with a climax of one of the most haunting scenes I have ever seen. Well disturbingly haunting for me, because as I mentioned earlier gruesome horror films aren't exactly my cup of tea. I find out this movie is a remake of the original which was released in 1973. Critics say it is a very poor remake yet what do I know? I have no point of comparison, really.

Nicholas Cage plays the part well. He seems rather haggard and thinner though and it looks like age is finally catching up with him. Yet he is only 42 years old. Heh. The women in this film portrayed by good actresses like Ellen Burstyn (Nurse Betty from "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest") and Frances McConroy (the quirky mother in HBO's "Six Feet Under") breeze through like they are in some sort of trance. Prancing about in their flowing gowns and long tresses adorn with twigs, they were quite creepy characters. The nice scenery of the little island makes the film more or less watchable. But I had very strong issues with the filmsy nature of the plot. It was fraught with gaping loopholes that you can't help but shake your head and go 'Tsk Tsk Tsk' over and over again.

But on the other hand, I am not one to miss a film that Nicholas Cage stars in. So I might be rather biased yet at the same time I know I can't really be expected to be awed by all of his films, all the time. Hopefully next month, with Oliver Stone's able direction, he will redeem himself with "World Trade Center". Now that is something I am looking forward to with abated breath. But I rather forget the fact that I am turning a year older. Geez!

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