Thursday, October 29, 2009

Silent Hill

(2006)***1/2

Reading Octopunk's review, I guessed that this thing with the nurses was going to be my favorite part of this movie. I was totally right -- turns out the women in these nurse costumes are all professional dancers. You can tell because of how they manage to make monstrous lurching look graceful, and also how even with their faces all mutilated and gross, you still want to reach out and do some pawing.

This isn't the only time Rose (Radha Mitchell) finds herself chased by a lurching mob -- in fact, it happens every time a threat appears. Radha just hauls ass. She never stops to fight back. I'm not saying I'd have behaved any differently -- in fact, I think if I saw an army of these guys coming my way...


I'd just freeze and wet my pants. I bring it up only because I've never played the video game Silent Hill, so this movie makes me wonder if the game itself is all about Rose running like hell.

Another curious thing about that scene of the lurching nurses -- it's the only mob storm in the movie which does not feature CGI. I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the best of these mob scenes.

This is tepid criticism though -- CGI exists to bring impossible scenes to life, and I found the digital hitching of the computer characters in Silent Hill only momentarily distracting. My attention instead was drawn to the beautifully realized setting. Octo called it a "twilight world" that Rose and others are trapped in. As a matter of plot-fact, it occupies a space in the real world, but somehow out of phase with actual reality -- sort of like a world that has already been partially chewed by the Langoliers and then forgotten.


What sticks out about this setting is that it isn't a two-bit mining village. It's a full on town -- banks, jewelry stores, pharmacies, clothing stores. The cars are old, but there are a lot of them and they're not junkers. There was life here in some other time, or in a different "here" -- so the town is as much a ghost as any of the inhumans slinking around it.


It's hard to give the movie credit for a setting constructed by the video game makers though. And it's hard to forgive the movie for breaking its own flow so badly in the middle of Act III. At what should be a climactic moment, the movie goes on pause, so to speak, and begins to write Cliffs Notes to itself. It never gets back on track after it unpauses, and the story rolls to a stop with a ton of unanswered questions that I didn't much feel like asking.

Lastly though, this lady gets her skin ripped off in one piece, and that totally rules.

5 comments:

JPX said...

I struggle with my feelings about Silent Hill. It's a beautiful looking, eerie movie with some unsettling horrific scenes, yet I recall being completely unsatisfied by time the end credits rolled. I don't generally enjoy fever dream stories that don't have a cohesive resolution, which is why I haven't been able to get through David Lynch's recent efforts. I'm a very simple man, what can I say. Excellent review!

Trevor (Tami's friend) said...

Same sentiments here - a lot of good visuals, and good setup for the story, but it gets too enamored with itself towards the end. I've seen this twice, and I'm generally displeased, and yet, I can't quite articulate why.

Octopunk said...

Tritto on that. I guess my review from three years ago covers it, but this is basically on its way to perfection and a couple of its wheels fall off.

I can't believe 50 admitted to wanting to paw at the hideous death nurses! I'm not shocked that he's a big perv, just that he said so.

Catfreeek said...

I played the Silent Hill games and what I did like about the film was I felt that it carried over the mood, the creatures and the unsettling feeling from the game without me actually having to fight shit (I hate the fighting part) but it did leave a big, what the... at the end.

Catfreeek said...

nice review btw :)