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Movie Review: Viral
There’s an owl at my window – a patient
All I knew about THE FOURTH KIND was that its trailer rocked me stupid and that it’s based on a supposedly “true story”. Over time I have to come to learn something valuable about Hollywood and their freaking “true stories”, they’re usually a croc of croc and THE FOURTH KIND falls in that territory as to its claims. The flick kind of gave that up via 1- Changing people’s names for privacy but then showing their faces via “real footage” (made no sense). 2- The director of the picture not being convincing as the interviewer of the “real” Abigail. 3- I highly doubt the government would release any of this real footage if true. After the movie I did some research and fell upon this interesting Alaskan article about the film. So nope it’s not true. And Alaskans be pissed! But that’s not my problem.
With that out of the way, I so got involved into this one, that true or not, it got the job motherf*cking done. At first the constant back and forth between “real footage” and “reenactment” kind of took me aback. How am I supposed to get into a movie if you keep changing perspective or/and having them go down at the same time? It took me like 15 minutes to adjust my grey matter to the way THE FOURTH KIND told its story and once that was locked- it was pummeling time. I got whopped! Now that I think of it, the fact that the flick acknowledged that some of its parts were fake is what made the reenactments bits whiplash me even harder. What a genius way to go about it! Director Olatunde Osunsanmi is definitely on my “to keep tabs on list”. His stylish and often gorgeous framing, his striking aerial photography and of course the novel/impactful way he told his story (via multiple split screens) totally wooed me. All I kept thinking while watching the film was “this is my kind of filmmaking”.
Osunsanmi also had a knack for generating suspense and scaring my sorry ass via the less is more rule and I for one respected that. There were a handful of scenes here that had something SPOOKY going on, but the image was distorted, and it was the small glimpses that I caught (like that open wide mouth thing…brrr… nough said) that really brought it home. The film suggested and my brain gapped the rest - always an effective fear ploy. There’s one bit that literally jumbled my insides. That hasn’t happened to me in ages! CREE....PY! Story wise, I was snagged early and wasn’t let go till the bitter end. Even though I knew what was going on (aliens), I was right there with its lead gal, fighting her good fight, feeling her pain while hoping that she’d get her answers and that it would all end with a neato happy ending. Did that happen? See the film for yourself. Big props to Milla Jovovich, who apart from one “off moment” gave out an intense and affecting performance. One of her best shows since The Messenger in my opinion.
The supporting cast hit hard like "wanna win" little troopers as well. The name actors (Elias Koteas once again doing a great DeNiro) and the non names (Hakeem Kae-Kazim and Corey Johnson) chipped in to make this tale feel even more legit. Will Patton was maybe a tad “too big” in places for my liking but on the whole I dug him too. Hard to not like Patton doing his thing - the man rocks! Topple on top of that an unsettling and at time moving score by Atli Örvarsson (I wanna own this score- you have it – hook me up), an endearing ambiguity that had my mind going, powerful drama that tugged at my heart strings, reenactment scenes that felt so real that it maximized the impact of the whole (them unaccredited actors deserve a hookers and beer party), back-handing sound design (the alien voices...brrr) and a pace that couldn’t have been smoother and you get one hell of a ride!
Any complaints? Well I mentioned most of them already (like the director not being aces as the interviewer and such) but another thing that bugged me was the whole “how the husband died thing”. At the end when I got the full answer, some things didn’t add up for me. Either I’m an imbecile (which we all know is a given) or the flick didn’t do a good job at communicating its subplot. Finally, the director sometimes went a little too style heavy (like that strobe light effect) hence taking me out of the story a tad but nothing critical. Other than that, I LOVED THE FOURTH KIND. It addressed a subject matter that I've always been fascinated with (them f*cking anal probing aliens), it touched me emotionally via its characters, their plight and relationships, it scared me real good a couple of times and visually; wow; I couldn’t get enough of it. So yeah its not a true story but its still a stellar film nonetheless. Abduct this!