Saturday, January 13, 2007

Took a chance on The Wicker Man, starring Nick Cage 'cos there wasn't anything else we wanted to watch at Sun Plaza this evening.

Cage plays Edward Maulis, a police officer who is given time off to recuperate from a traffic mishap, and goes off on a quest to find a missing child in a remote community far, far removed from urban development. Fully charged up with testosterone, the authority of a legal enforcer, and his own mission of righteousness, Maulis wastes no time making his presence felt amongst the rural folk of Summersisle.

The community has ancient roots, with animistic customs, traditions and rituals that are so alien to our modern sensibilities. Like the bee hives they keep to harvest honey, Summersisle is a matriarchal theocracy in which the knowledge jobs belong exclusively to the women, and the men just provide manual labour, or else sit around in the pub drooling into their mead. Though that description sounds like paradise on earth, it all looks like a society gone wrong, from Maulis' prejudiced perspective.

In his quest for the missing child, he charges around the village like a bull in a china shop. His methods become increasingly fascistic (typical male response when things don't go their way) as the villagers refuse to respect his authority and instead just watch him and his antics with amused detachment. They have little time for him anyway, as they are trying to recover from their worst harvest on record.

As Maulis slowly uncovers Summersisle's secrets, he also discovers the reasons for his summons to the community, and comes to realize that he is the best man for the job.

There's also a little cautionary tale there against pre-marital sex: you never know when the consequences of a long-ago tryst might one day come back to burn you.

The Wicker Man
isn't a horror movie, but more like a Hitchcockian thriller. It is slow-paced, with very little action, but there's enough going on keep the audience guessing what the villagers are really up to.

Cool, but for my taste in movies, I'd rather watch this one on HBO.

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