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 ?????
Me when watching this movie: -__-"
Me when the story reached around the ending: :O
Me when I found out the director was William Friedkin: .............:|:|:|:|:|
Interesting story, but it was, to be honest, super boring. But the actors and the actresses deserved like 10 awards or something. Mindblowing performance.
Bug is very uncomfortable viewing indeed. Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd's performances are just amazing, particularly Judd in the last 10 minutes. I was very much engrossed in the later part of the film and felt myself flinching at times. I am still thinking about it the next day, it has left many questions in my mind. I cant say if I preferred 'Bug' to 'Killer Joe' ....I just hope Friedkin adapts more of Traceys Lett's plays.
William Friedkin isn't too prolific these days, but apparently when he does direct he only directs Tracy Letts plays. I'm not complaining - I liked Killer Joe a lot, and Bug is almost as solid.
There is a kineticism to Killer Joe that isn't present in Bug and I would imagine that is due to the former's moving throughout its Texas location from scene to scene. Bug takes place almost entirely inside the motel room where Ashley Judd's Agnes lives. A friend introduces her to Peter (Michael Shannon), a discharged soldier, just as her abusive former husband Jerry (Harry Connick, Jr.) is released from prison. Jerry's threatening nature drives Agnes and Peter together, but the result isn't pretty for anyone…
Possibly the worst movie I've ever seen.
While I'm glad that I watched this because I think it was the film that introduced me to Michael Shannon, I don't think I really needed to watch it again.
This is just such an uncomfortable movie to watch. All the performances are very solid, but when it's over you really feel like you need a shower.
Intriguing first third of the movie but everything kind of just caves in on itself after that.
Don't ever see this, unless you once got kidnapped by aliens and need to relate to someone who makes up conspiration theories.
There were two or three moments in this movie that got a vocal rise out of me... Sort of a semi-painful groan-laugh, if that makes sense. I can't say that about a lot of movies. I found some of the crazy ramblings a little tedious, and Ashley Judd's character's over-eagerness to believe the nuttiness required some suspension of disbelief, but overall pretty psychologically horrific.
Well that sure escalated quickly. Damn. The film totally sets you up to expect a left turn of some kind is coming, but I was not prepared for that. The end of Bug is kind of like the other collaboration between William Friedkin and Tracy Letts, Killer Joe, in that it builds to a beautiful crescendo of depraved insanity and violence. It's disgusting to the point of being hard to watch, yet at the same time there is a sick pleasure in seeing actors being allowed to take an idea to this extreme end. I love when an established filmmaker is willing to get a little crazy.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- Under the Skin
- Tropical Malady
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
- Inland Empire
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Lilya 4-Ever
- Life Is Beautiful
- Dancer in the Dark
My five hundred favorite films (1940-2014)