Friday, March 28, 2008

The Mist (Novella and Film - Part III)

What I liked about The Mist:

* Frank Darabont kept most of the dialog from the novella and the changes he makes are mostly to modernize the story and to clean up some of Stephen King’s dialog. Personally, I like King’s long as it stays on the page.

* Man, what a cast. Thomas Jane fills the shoes of the Stephen King everyman perfectly. Marcia Gay Harden wouldn’t have been my first choice, because she isn’t suitably “over the top” – but that’s exactly what makes her Mrs. Carmody work. In the smaller parts, Darabont fills the ranks with solid character actors. Most notably William Sadler, whose performance as Death in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey I hold in the same esteem as Brando's in The Godfather.

* As a director, Darabont’s biggest success in The Mist is with the longer dialog scenes. He does a tremendous job of keeping characters that don’t have dialog in the frame. The inside of the grocery store seems like a real community, thanks to some small bit of business in the background or a judiciously placed reaction shot. Only a few filmmakers making movies today are better than Frank Darabont at remembering that people talking – just talking – can be just as captivating as CGI monsters and gore effects.

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