Posted by: kfugrip | October 15, 2007

Ninety-seven: Bug

Rather than focus this post on the political parallels present in Bug, directed by William Friedkin, I’d prefer to focus on the formal and emotional aspects of the movie. The level of paranoia in the film does mirror the current political climate, but a post about that could be 2000 words.

Bug is about a lonely woman who takes in a strange man. The man begins to find bugs in the hotel room and his belief and reaction to the bugs drive them both in a downward spiral and to the inevitable finale.

What I liked: Friedkin crafts a taught thriller that takes place almost entirely in a hotel room. Yes, the film was adapted from a play, but such adaptations don’t necessarily translate well to the screen. Friedkin pulls it off and creates a tense mood that informs all of the decisions in the film. The performances drive the action and are effective and believable. Ashely Judd does an excellent job and is aided by the choice to make her less beautiful. It works well for the character, an aging waitress. The final scene, without giving it away, was perfect.

What I didn’t like: I found the performance of Michael Shannon to be distracting and mannered. He was playing a character that was on the edge of caricature anyways but Shannon does little with it that I find interesting or revealing. Ditto for Harry Conick Jr., as the ex-con/ex-husband. So that’s two out of the five actors as distractions, and that is what brings this film down to me. The writing and lead performance were enough to save it though.

3 stars




  1. You thought Michael Shannon sucked in this film. Michael Clayton sucked baaaaaalllllzzzzz.

  2. Shocker. Harry Connick Jr. plays an ex-con in a major motion picture. Who casted him, Dr. Obvious? Connick should stick to what he, you, Mike, and I do best… Crooning.

  3. I’ve seen the short film of Cashback. I reviewed it earlier in the year (on the Steam Powered Pachyderm blog… I think) and I thought it was okay. I’ll check it out in the interest of conversation though.

  4. I concur. I also like the ambiguity of the conspiracy aspect.

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