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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

William Friedkin's Bug

- Ashley Judd as Agnes

Am I the only one who wonders if they're crazy? I talk to Kermit, sleep with the light on, and feel sooooo much better when all the stuff on my desk is arranged in perfectly straight lines - how much longer can it be before I exhibited the behavior of the characters in the mvoe Bug? :-)

Bug is an American film released on the 25th May 2007 ..... directed by William Friedkin [the Exorcist and The French Connection], starring Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Shannon. The film is based on the play Bug written by Tracy Letts. Bug is Rated R for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug use .... The waitress Agnes (Ashley Judd), lives in fear of her violent ex-husband Jerry Goss (Harry Connick, Jr.), who has been let out of jail. Agnes meets Peter (Michael Shannon), and he becomes her protector and lover. Peter begins to talk about the first Gulf War, UFOs, the Oklahoma City bombings, cult suicides, and secret government experiments on soldiers. He is contending with an apparent infestation of parasites and insects. Oddness darkens into madness ...... - Wikipedia

My sister saw the previews of the movie and thought it was a horror film (thanks to Peter's apparent case of Ekbom's Syndrome), but I think it's more a film about what we believe and why we believe it. Here below is a little of Roger Ebert's review of the movie ....


In the film we meet Agnes (Judd), a waitress in a honky-tonk lesbian bar, living in a shabby motel. Her violent ex-husband (Harry Connick Jr.), just out on parole, walks back into her life, still violent. At about the same time her gay friend R.C. (Lynn Collins) drags in a stray with haunted eyes. This is the polite stranger named Peter (Shannon) who says he doesn't want sex or anything else, is attentive and courteous, and is invited by Agnes to spend the night even though he seems (to us) like the embodiment of menace.

The story involves this man's obsession with bugs that he believes infect his cells and may have been implanted by the government during his treatment for obscure causes after military service in the Gulf. We think he's crazy. Agnes listens and nods, and doesn't want him to leave; she feels safer around him.

He begins to seem more weird. This doesn't bother her. With mounting urgency, she begins to share his obsession with bugs, and together they hurtle headlong into a paranoid fantasy that ties together in one perfect conspiracy all of the suspicions they've ever had about anything ......

The thing about "Bug" is that we're not scared for ourselves so much as for the characters in the movie. Judd and Shannon bravely cast all restraint aside and allow themselves to be seen as raw, terrified and mad. The core of the film involves how quickly Judd's character falls into sympathy with Shannon's. She seems like a potential paranoid primed to be activated, and yet her transformation never seems hurried and is always convincing.

For Friedkin, the film is a return to form after some disappointments like "Jade." it feels like a young man's picture, filled with edge and energy. Some reviews have criticized "Bug" for revealing its origins as a play, since most of it takes place on one set. But of course it does. There is nothing here to "open up" and every reason to create a claustrophobic feel. Paranoia shuts down into a desperate focus. It doesn't spread its wings and fly.


This movie probably won't do well at the box office but I think I'll rent it ..... I'm betting I'll identify with Agnes in her willingness to "believe with" Peter ... if only to remind myself of how easy it is for me to make true what I need to be true.


Blogger Liam said...

What is wrong with talking to one's cat? I have long conversations with Mishea, and I know she understands every word.

Sounds like a great movie -- paranoia is good.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

I was also intrigued by the trailers, but I am increasingly dissapointed with how trailers in general are being done. They rarely give an honest portrayal of what to expect in the actual movie.

I'm with you, I'll probably rent it or (as I've been doing for many shows, wait for it to show up for free on Movie Central or something).

As for thinking you're crazy...if I had a nickel for every time I wondered that...I wouldn't have had to eat so much potato soup in my life! I've always been of the opinion that thinking you're crazy is a great sign that you're not. It's when you start thinking everything you do is normal and that everyone esle is insane that you have to worry....wait a I AM scared! ;o)

9:45 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

I guess I won't worry unless Kermit starts talking back :-)

10:00 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I know what you mean about trailers. I wonder if they make different versions to appeal to different audiences? I like to read the movie reviews first before I plunk down my nickle.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

I've gone to or rented a couple of films in the last few years expceting a good laugh only to be made to think about my place in the world and enjoy a really good story.

Not that any of that is a bad thing...but when you're expecting a relatively mindless set of good chuckles it's kind of a let down. Movies with misleading trailers; Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Forgotten Mind, Stranger than Fiction. All GREAT films, but not what I was expecting from the trailers. I to read the reviews first now...mostly. Unless some insane impulse grabs me.

There's that insane thing again. Sheesh. A least I don't talk to cats.

They talk to me.

10:36 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Ha :-)

I always try to watch Ebert's tv reviews or read the reviews at his site because he and I seem to agree most of the time - if he likes something it's likely I will too. He's been very sick latley though and only does the rare review.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

PLEASE remove "cat talking" from your list of suspect behaviors. Also dog talking, butterfly talking, vehicle talking, and self talking. And I'm sure I could think of a few more if I put my... um...mind to it. :-)

3:02 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Susan,

yes - computer talking too! My poor eMac is begnning to believe its name is "you piece of junk" :-)

3:38 PM  

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