Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
First they send in their drone... Then they find their queen.
A lonely waitress with a tragic past, Agnes rooms in a run-down motel, living in fear of her abusive, recently paroled ex-husband. But when Agnes begins a tentative romance with Peter, an eccentric, nervous drifter, she starts to feel hopeful again - until the first bugs arrive...
I seriously can't believe it. After my wife subjected her poor mid 70's parents to Killer Joe last night, she somehow convinced them, by some sly Ashley Judd trickery, to watch Bug tonight. I suspect they aren't going to visit anymore.
Me, I was smiling all the way through. Not from observing my in-laws uncomfortable, but well timed, reactions, ( well, maybe a little ) but rather that on a short re-watch this film didn't lose a speck of it's brilliant luster.
After being completely gob-smacked by Friedkin’s Killer Joe last year, I was eagerly anticipating seeing his previous collaboration with playwright Tracy Letts. I was expecting good things, but not the incredible ride I was taken on.
Right from the opening scene, Friedkin conveys so much with such masterful economy, it’s staggering. We start with a distant point of light, as we move in closer and closer you feel the isolation and loneliness, and you feel that something is arriving. The simple use of the harsh ringing of a telephone elicits a sense of menace and dread.
Perhaps we’re seeing a visual metaphor of Peter’s elliptical approach to Agnes. He sees her tiny point of light, and is drawn to her…
Infestation is everywhere in Bug attacking the pores of the skin, slowly taking over the mind, large pests leaving prison to invade lives, secret organisations on the hunt looking to exterminate their prey. It's a cacophony of disease surrounding two people holed up inside their own lonely lives, barricaded into a motel room, seeking refuge in the corners of their disappearing sanity.
This intense psychodrama quietly lays its seed early on then draws you in slowly, almost deceptively, to a climax that will leave you wide-eyed at two actors totally off the leash. Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon turn in performances of the like you rarely get to see, or which a director rarely inspires. An actor on their game…
Agnes White (Ashley Judd) lives in a run-down motel. Her son has gone missing years ago. Her violent ex-husband has recently been released from prison. She receives silent phone calls that worry her. She meets Peter Evans (Michael Shannon) through a friend. He is acting very strange and seems to be a dangerous person but Agnes allows him to stay with her for awhile. As they begin to know each other, she finds out from him that he was used by the military in different experiments, ran away and now is followed by secret agencies.
This movie is insane. Most of it takes place in the motel room which creates a claustrophobic atmosphere rarely achieved in other movies. Ashley Judd…
Bug had me from the very first scene.
Black screen with credits. An old rotary phone rings.
It is answered by a woman. Hello? (pause). Hello?
An aerial view of the middle of nowhere with what looks to be 5 buildings surrounded by nothing but empty fields and a highway.
It's eerie and ominous already. Someone somewhere down below is getting calls. Wherever she is we know she is isolated. Alone.
The camera keeps moving forward. She is in one of these buildings.
Who is calling her? How long has this been going on?
The camera begins to settle on a decrepit motel. Motel. Is she hiding from someone? Has he found her?
We are now just above the motel…
I have no idea what the hell I just saw, but this was pretty fucked up and awesome at the same time !
Damn, am I the only one feeling really itchy ?????
Two strangers, both harboring secrets of their own, find solace in eachother's presence. What happens when isolation and loneliness are paired with paranoia? Conspiracy, delusion, and ultimately a tour de force piece of filmmaking that I feel is a masterpiece on all levels. Few films come this close to the relentless hysterical excess of Zulawski's Possession and you're doing yourself an injustice to not see it.
Fans of Michael Shannon and nightmarish paranoid hallucinations, take note.
Worth Watching? Eh...
Story: A lonely woman with a troubled past befriends a drifter with a troubled past and they become obsessed with bugs.
One Good Thing:
I just moved into an apartment in Texas and had to deal with a little bit of a bug problem. I've also dealt with fleas, having been around pets most my life. So I can understand the gross, freak out nature that Agnes and Peter deal with in Bug as their obsession with the tiny insects gets worse and worse. I've also listened to my fair share of conspiracy theory podcasts. I'm a basic entry level truth seeker, enjoying the stories more than taking them for fact, but I will…
This is Freidkin's best.
stripped down, confrontational, intense, uncompromising, unsettling, and filled to the brim with high frequency paranoia.
Qualities I unfortunately did not find in The Exorcist.
Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd are top notch, especially Shannon, who really deserves his reputation as an actor.
Funny how as a kid, I only remembered him as the son of Christopher Walken's mob boss in Kangaroo Jack.
The unsettling nature of the film can definitely be mainly contributed to its ideas. The film lives off of its ideas, and Michael Shannon. There is some sort of escalation occurring while the mystery still remains, all building up to a fantastic climax. As unpredictable as it was.
There was some point around the…
Disturbing tale about schizophrenia. Great performances.
Arguably William Friedkin’s best work since To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Bug exhibits a Lynchian eeriness early on as a magnificent panoramic shot, set to the sounds of a tense encounter between a ringing telephone and an unstrung woman, takes us to a dilapidated, nearly-deserted motel somewhere and nowhere in the American heartland. The squalid room, in which the film is primarily set, is long occupied by Agnes (Ashley Judd), a downtrodden barmaid who probably spends a little too much time around alcohol and drugs. She fears that her ex-con ex-husband, who might have just gotten out of prison, is behind those empty calls. In the meantime, her co-worker friend (Lynn Collins) introduces her to a drifter named…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Real slow burner, but sets everything up in a seamless fashion for the crux of the film, which is about the slip that anyone can take into rampant and hostile paranoia.
Like the bugs the main characters frantically try to tear out of their bodies, everything that happens is carefully put in place so leisurely it's misleading.
SHEER FUCKING PSYCHOLOGICAL LUNACY. And at the same time, positively hysterical. When the claustrophobia, isolation, and paranoia escalates and seeps into the characters, their behavior reaches a fever pitch of absurdity that can only be digested through laughter. Letts and Friedkin are a fierce power couple. The grit and power of the direction matches the scripted black comedy perfectly. It only helps to be aided by committed powerhouse performances too. Shannon and Judd's combustible chemistry is undeniable and piercing. The depths of delusion one can access in the name of love and companionship is fascinating and wholly disturbing. Bug exerts such a profound hold on me, that I can't help but keep coming back to it. I hope Letts and Friedkin make a third picture together.
Film #4 of the "Scavenger Hunt #4" Challenge!
Task #23: An unconventional romance film!
Bug is a really creepy movie with excellent direction from William Friedkin. Both Harry Connick jr and Lynn Collins get their time to shine, but it's the duo of Ashley Bug and Michael Shannon that really shines. Their slow descent into madness is bugginlgly disturbing and what this movie is really about. It starts out early with a series of calls to Judd, with no one on the other end. Neither we or she ever finds out who it is, adding to the suspense, it's seemingly just to bug her, and us.
But we don't really see anything especially wrong with the two leads…
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…