Miles on Movies


reviewed by R. Miles Mendenhall

Speaking of delusional states, this truly creepy romance (?) about a lonely
depressed working class barmaid who takes in an anti-social paranoid and
then descends with him into his world of conspiracy and menace, well…

It’s based on the play. The actor playing the guy, Michael Shannon, played
the guy character in the play.

Ashley Judd is a great actress, see “Ruby In Paradise” if you’ve not yet
done so.

Directed by William Friedkin (“The French Connection”, “The Exorcist”, “To
Live and Die in LA”)

There’s a conspiracy theory recitation that makes connections even I hadn’t
heard of before, and I’m a skeptical follower of that stuff. I wonder how
many others in theater understood why it got such a loud guffaw out of me?

Ultimately this is a sad depressing story, but the ride there is worth it.
And it raises some interesting questions:

Can depressed lonely people become victim to the delusions of those who are
willing to talk to them like real human beings?

Are cults just a way for the collectively deluded to pass the time? Does
that mean we’re all part of a global cult?

Is the government planting RFID chips in people to read their thoughts,
track them and control their behavior?

(I have a student who claims to be able to document his victimization in
this manner. And a friend who can tell you all about satellite control of
our mental processes.)

Do believers in implausible conspiracies need to elevate their own mundane
lives out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary in order to create
meaning for themselves?

Is reality made up of the things we perceive? Or is it the arrangement our
minds create to make sense of the things we perceive? And if it’s both, just
how does that work?

Acting like Tweakers hallucinating insect infestation and evil government
control conpiracies, this couple goes off the deep end. But the triumphant
moment when Ashley’s character realizes her “true” nature and role in
history is priceless.

It’s gory and gross, and a beautiful study in the depths of madness. These
characters literally “bug out”.

If you like an intellectual, psychological thriller that is about what’s
inside our heads and hearts, not what’s out there in the night, to get us
(or is it?), this might be for you. Ignore the deceptive advertising that
implies that it is about alien possession, even though it is, kind of.

Just because we’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us….

Main Film review page
Main Review page (books, food, products and more)