Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers is really bucking the odds. This is the fourth film version and so far each one has something to recommend it. There was Donald Siegel's classic 1956 version and Philip Kaufman's rather good remake and then what was probably the least interesting - Abel Ferrera's THE BODY SNATCHERS (although by no means a dud) - and now it is the turn of Oliver Hirschbiegel, director of DOWNFALL. Despite what seems to have been a very troubled production which involved extra scenes being directed by James McTeague (and written by the Warchowski Brothers no less) the film is not a complete disaster. This version is set in Washington D.C. and stars Nicole Kidman (looking very beautiful but oh so thin) as a psychiatrist (in Washington it must be difficult to sort strange behaviour there!) and rather that the giant pods of the book we now have a virus pandemic - although sleep is still the catalyst. Kidman is excellent and there is a fine supporting cast including a nice bit from Veronica Cartwright who was also in the Kaufman version (no Kevin McCarthy this time). I did get the impression that they didn't really know how to end the film and it all seems a bit rushed with an unconvincing domestic epilogue. But by far the worst thing about the film is the bland performance by Daniel Craig whom I found totally unconvincing as Kidman's doctor boyfriend. Entertaining. Rating **

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