HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

September 3, 2007
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The Invasion

John Turner


I confess I went to see the The Invasion simply because I was having a boring day and because it stars Nicole Kidman, whom I enjoy watching in movies, even bad ones. It turned out to be a better film than I expected. It certainly wasn't great but it did manage to create a pervasive mood which continues to stick with me.

I guess by now everyone knows the plot of the body-snatcher films. Creepy stuff manages to get to earth -- this time riding on the outside of a crashing space shuttle -- and infects people such that they become controlled by the stuff, which for some reason wants to make all humans into emotionless zombies. And once these people have been transformed they become pretty ruthless in pursuit of the new program. So the story involves someone's figuring out that they're present and then finding a way to turn them off.

I hope I'm not spoiling the film for anyone by saying that both things happen. It's how they happen that provides the entertainment.

Nicole Kidman plays a brilliant and stunning psychiatrist -- you'll notice that the heroes in these productions are never down-to-earth waitresses in all-night diners. She begins to figure out that something is going on from the stories her patients tell her -- tales like, "my husband isn't my husband any more." And from thereon it's all just smash and chase.

Still, in the process, we do get the mood, which is truly creepy. It forces you to wonder about your fellow humans, and where they might be going. Walking back to my car, feeling a little threatened, I passed by a nine year old girl, out with her parents, who was dancing in a frenetic manner and singing a silly, girlish song. Then, I felt a lot better.


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