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A Five Star Science-Fiction Classic
on January 13, 2008
Someone must defend the exquisite "The Invasion", which was a huge critical and commercial disaster when released in 2007. Personally, I think it was way ahead of its' time, and it is quite ironic that most people are waking up to its' genius on DVD.
Nicole Kidman, in perhaps her most restrained performance plays 'a woman against the world'. Holding onto her sanity while the rest of the world around her are converted literally into zombies, she plays a simple woman who has to deal with some extraordinary circumstances. I found her insomniac performance while teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown while trapped in the convenience store, to be one of her greatest screen moments.
Its moments like that which define "The Invasion". This is NOT a film for special effects afficionados. In fact, I can't recall even one significant special effect or 'things blowing up'. What I got instead was a quiet, intelligent science fiction thriller that relied upon dialog and languid camera movement to convey a sense of fear and mayhem. In fact, the Directors' style here is an amalgamation of David Lynch and two of his best movies - "Dune" and "Mulholland Drive". The film-noir vibe is stark throughout this film, and I would say this is closer to an art film that a typical commercial thriller.
Perhaps its that sensibility that made this a commercial failure. In one extended sequence, Nicole Kidman is informed that in order to escape being noticed by the zombies, you need to be 'emotionless'. Nicole then proceeds to take the train and walk the streets, and does a fine job of conveying nothingness, simply to escape being killed, while all the while her character is dying inside. Superb.
The end could have been better, yes, and in fact even I was surprised at how conveniently they wrapped things up just to finish the film off. But thats a minor quibble. I preferred this vastly over last years "Children of Men", which I would call "The Invasion"'s poorer cousin. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend the negativity this film attracts when in fact its certainly a science fiction classic and clearly the best film made on the Invasion theme so far.
There is a film from 1994 - "Body Snatchers", which had the same storyline. That was another minor masterpiece that no one noticed (try looking for the DVD, it starred Gabrielle Anwar in her defining role). Its unsung movies like these that are present in the science fiction genre, and true fans of the medium such as myself will always be there to give them the respect they deserve.
Ignore the negativity, and BUY this on DVD today. Its certainly worth watching more than once, and will quickly become one of your favorite movies if you give it a chance.