After a violent storm in a lakeside town in Maine, a cloud of mist appears the next morning. As the mist quickly envelops the area, a group of people are trapped in the local supermarket - among them, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his five-year-old son (Nathan Gamble). The group soon discovers that within the mist live numerous species of horrific, unworldly creatures that possibly spewed out through an inter-dimensional rift, caused by experiments at the nearby military base. But fiery Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) fans the panic with her righteous fundamentalism, believing she is a vessel of god who has wrought this evil upon the sinners.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Author Stephen King and director Frank Darabont raise our expectations with their track records (Darabond's Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, for example) but it takes a great deal of suspension of your critical faculties to sit through The Mist un-irritated. Most of the problem is that the characters are so stupid, and even though the screenplay embraces this stupidity and exalts in it through some of the less stupid characters, it's not enough.
But - and it's a big but - Marcia Gay Harden's Mrs Carmody is a sensational creation, perhaps more genuinely frightening than those nasty, bloodthirsty creatures. The filmmakers really sock it to 'em fundamentalists with this character, whose fire and brimstone approach attracts the weakest, most frightened of the congreg ... er townsfolk. This subversive aspect is the element I respond to most in the film. Go see The Mist, just for Marcia's amazing, chillingly accurate portrayal: by the sheer volume of spewed babble, she overcomes rational thought and appeals to the worst instincts of mankind. This and store worker Ollie Weeks (wonderful work from Toby Jones) who notes that humans are stupid ... get more than two people in a room and they start taking sides and it all goes to hell.
That such dark truths find their way into the film is a small comfort for those of us who find the rest of the film rather pedestrian. With all due respect to King and Darabond, military experiments as a cause for science fictioned creatures is yawningly unoriginal. The creatures are nasty enough and varied enough to freak out the sci fi creature fans, and the arrogant characters get dealt with as we'd expect. Indeed, too much is as we'd expect.
There is one more transgression I must note: in the latter stages of the film when things get apocalyptical, Darabond uses a piece of music (The Host of Seraphim) from Dead Can Dance's 1988 album, The Serpent's Egg, featuring the ethereal vocalisation of Lisa Gerrard (you'll recall her from the soundtrack of Gladiator). Top marks for refined musical taste, but what blasphemy to put it in this film!
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MIST, THE (MA)
CAST: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Nathan Gamble
PRODUCER: Frank Darabont, Liz Glotzer
DIRECTOR: Frank Darabont
SCRIPT: Frank Darabont (novel by Stephen King)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ronn Schmidt
EDITOR: Hunter M. Via
MUSIC: Mark Isham
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gregory Melton
RUNNING TIME: 126 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 7, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.