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 ?????
Finally an original idea that was kool as fukk
They turned us into zombies! Remote control assassins!
Well, this certainly was different from what I was expecting. William Friedkin's Bug, adapted from a stage play, is a slow, meticulous, but altogether brilliant psychological horror film that brilliantly examines the effects certain behaviors can have on multiple people. It was also a straight-up anti drug campaign, with the bugs representing the two main characters' steep and slippery slope into madness.
Agnes White (Ashley Judd) is a pothead who lives in a motel room, away from her estranged husband. She has gone down in a slope of depression after her son was kidnapped in a supermarket some time ago, and her husband is constantly abusive towards her. A co-worker of hers…
Bug is in many ways William Friedkin going Cronenbergian and, by god, it works! Flawless performances from both lead actors, Michael Shannon in particular taking us across the entire spectrum of roles for which he is so known and loved: from mumbling, unthreatening drifter to hypermanic headcase, practicing self-dentistry and wielding a butcher knife.
I would not have minded the film being about ten minutes longer in the first half, so as to detail the protagonists' descent into psychotic self-destruction that little better, but at the same time I cannot fault the economy of this film: as someone who has never particularly cared for The Exorcist, feeling it was far too long in the build-up to the climax and far too long once it's passed, the complete absence of fat and filler in "Bug" was a welcome relief.
Bug is a "mad love" film at its very best.
Trigger Warning: Self-dentistry
Judd, Shannon & Friedkin should work together exclusively.
Unlike some other reviews I've seen, it really did feel like a stage play to me. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is hard to think of a non-musical that makes something more of a theatrical piece when put on the big screen. My first impression was of Frost/Nixon - predominately two people talking in an environment of increasing tension - and no-one can say that that was a bad film.
Despite that, Bug is a terrific piece of work. As a double bill, I'd pair it with Contagion. You'd be scratching and itching for weeks afterwards. Evil, I know.
Tracy Letts's mid-90's play Bug debuted shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, in a time when a rash of anti-government, conspiratorial militias obsessed with the New World Order were sprouting up across the country, many populated by ex-military personnel like one of Letts's characters. Ten years later in 2006, when William Friedkin adapted the intense work into a film, I remember reading a Time magazine article about how a significant portion of the US was sure that there was much more to the 9/11 attack, such that the government either knew about it beforehand, or executed it themselves. Watching Bug now, when those same militias are experiencing a resurgence, it's more than a little disconcerting to get a glimpse into…
Friedkini ja Lettsi esimene koostöö ei jätnud mind küll päris sõnatuks nagu tegi Killer Joe, kuid saavutab kohati tolle filmiga võrdväärse pinge ja intensiivsuse.
Judd ja Shannon on erakordsed. Nad toovad ekraanile ühe tooreima kujutluse tõelisest hullumeelsusest, mida ma näinud olen.
I am the super mother bug!
I better go get my toothache checked out
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).