THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
Review by Michael Jacobson
Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing
Director: Mark Pellington
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Pan & Scan 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: Music Video, Theatrical Trailer
Length: 119 Minutes
Release Date: June 4, 2002
didn’t see it?”
Mothman Prophecies is a film that paints with broad strokes and never lets you get close to
the details…yet for the first hour, it’s interesting, for the second, it’s
intriguing, and by the time it’s over, you definitely feel in your gut that
you’ve seen something…but what?
based on true events, or urban legends at least, this is not a movie that scares
or startles, but draws you in slowly but surely.
The characters are there mainly to be the voice of reason for or against
the supernatural, but that’s only if you want to go ahead and chalk it up as
supernatural. There have been reports of premonitions and precognitions all
throughout recorded history, but none quite matching the nature of these.
story begins with a Washington Post reporter John Klein (Gere) and his wife Mary
(Messing), about to begin a new chapter in their lives when the book is suddenly
slammed shut. A car accident leaves
Mary badly wounded, and leads the doctors to the discovery that she is dying.
But the night of the crash, she saw something…something that manifested
itself over and over again in her crude but unsettling drawings.
years later, John finds himself in Point Pleasant, West Virginia…though how he
got there seems to defy explanation. It’s
a slice of small town America that seems to be gripped in something
inexplicable, as he learns when he talks to the town’s police sergeant Connie
Parker (Linney). Good, normal folk
have been coming in out of the woodwork to report strange (and vague)
occurrences. The mantra is always
the same: “hard to describe”,
“can’t explain”, et cetera.
of the locals, a fellow named Gordon (Patton), seems to be getting it the worst.
He is either really seeing and hearing something, or he is
hallucinating…but if it’s in his mind, how can it be explained that the
voices seem to be predicting events that haven’t happened yet with uncanny
don’t want to delve too far into the workings of the picture…the less you
know, the better. The movie
doesn’t achieve a sense of suspense or thrills during its first half, largely
because of the vague tip-toeing, but it keeps you interested enough that
you’re there for the second half, when the gears begin to switch and you’re
drawn in, hanging on every possible turn. The
ending is an unexpected double climax…a stunning sequence followed by a quiet
exchange. The latter is really what
will stay with you.
is a good cast, headed by Richard Gere in one of the best performances I’ve
seen from him in a while. I like
him in these kinds of roles as he’s gotten older; a kind of everyman who’s
smart, observant, and quiet, but with the penchant to react when things start to
come apart. Laura Linney, fresh
from her Oscar nomination in You Can Count On Me, has less to work with,
but in one sequence with Gere on the phone, the two create a heartfelt, strong
scene out of very simple material.
Mark Pellington, who made the effective and somewhat underrated Arlington
Road, has created another effective and underrated movie here.
He accents the action (or non action) with an assured camera style,
skillful editing, and even simple effects to create the feel of something from
nothing. This picture probably
boasts the most effective use of electronic voice manipulation since Cher’s
seem to be in the era of a new kind of horror genre, one that’s almost
anti-horror. Films like The
Sixth Sense, The Others, and The Blair Witch Project have managed to
succeed by intriguing their audiences rather than going for the cheap routine
scare. The Mothman Prophecies can
now be added to that list as a film that titillates you with possibilities, then
doesn’t disappoint you when it arrives at its conclusion.
is another terrific offering from Columbia Tri Star…not 100% perfect, but darn
near. Mothman is a film of
extreme lighting and color variations, and this is an anamorphic transfer that
renders them all with clarity and integrity.
Dark scenes look just as detailed as lighter ones, and sequences of
extreme color saturation look just as solid as ones with natural tones.
There is a slight hint of grain noticeable here and there, as well as a
bit of light flicker in one of the early hospital scenes…these are quickly
passing and just barely worth mentioning. If
the disc had used dual layering for the scope ratio transfer instead of using
side two for a pan & scan presentation, it might have been a flawless
soundtrack to a film like this is important, and CTS doesn’t disappoint with
this lively and dynamic 5.1 mix. The
atmosphere is created and sustained by music and sound effects, and with this
multi-channel offering, you never know from what direction it’s going to come.
Dialogue is clean and clearly rendered in both quiet scenes and intense
ones. The balance is apparent in a couple of crowd scenes, where a
level volume of ambience is created across both stages.
A commendable effort.
disc contains a trailer and a music video for the tune “Half Light”, which
was directed by Mark Pellington. The
insert contains some interesting info about the Mothman…do NOT read it until
you’ve seen the movie!