Thoughts on Pontypool

Saturday, February 5, 2011 10:32 AM By Simon

-A mysterious disease sweeps through the eponymous Canadian town, as seen from the small staff of a local radio station in the basement of a church.

-Holy shit, is this movie awesome. I mean, it's terrifying. One of the few modern movies that literally made my heart stop. And Stephen McHattie, as the shock jock protaganist who is eventually torn between his duty to inform what little public remains/verbal tick of never shutting up, and the fact that his broadcast is the very-near reason the disease is spreading so quick, spends much of his time giving smooth monologues on this and that, with wit and delivery of a natural-born radio personality. By the end, he transcends obnoxious and enters epic.

-The zombies/conversationalists (as director Bruce McDonald puts it) are just...damn. Mimics and not-quite cannibals, but turns out, they're just really, really confused...

-And it's funny. I mean, at the end, what should be sad is actually kind of uplifting, in a way, and throughout, and...the coda scene confirms the joke. It's a brilliant ending.

-I love how they play it like a real radio station would be, everyone talking over each other, people listening to an emergency broadcast while the DJ is still talking in the background, and eventually, they can only get information from call-in viewers (the original concept was going to be that the only image would be a line reacting to the voices, like an actual radio broadcast, and at least one character would only be mentioned), and there's a chick who looks like the brunette on Criminal Minds, and, shit, I'm not explaining this well at all.

-Terrifying and clever and brilliant, a comment on meaningless conversation (many of the triggering words, if you know what I'm talking about, are often superfluous and pointless dialogue-fillers), the Canadian government (Canada...), language in general (hells yeah), and shock jocks.

-I don't know why, but I want to make a T-shirt that says: "It's not the end of the world, it's just the end of the day". It'll either be stupid or awesome.


The Mad Hatter said...

Now what do you think of the fact that I use a stillshot from this opus in the posts for my podcast?

February 6, 2011 at 6:06 AM
Simon said...

Hatter: That it's either a reference to the talking or the name McHattie.

February 6, 2011 at 7:40 AM
Ron said...

Simon - I want to say that under the hardcore facade I have grown to know as Simon, there is an incredibly intelligent insightful, intuitive person who engages film with an amazing grasp of nuance and metaphor and I truly enjoy reading your reviews. Whatever you decide is your direction in life you take with you wisdom beyond your years.

Be well,

February 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM
Stephanie said...

I hadn't heard of this movie -- it sounds intriguing. That movie poster is cool, and a bit disturbing. :-)

February 6, 2011 at 5:13 PM
Simon said...

Ron: Aw. You so sweet. And you as well, my good man.

Stephanie: Indeed it is.

February 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM
Anonymous said...

Fucking great little take on the zombie film, criminally underseen and then some. McHattie is absolutely glorious here, and I absolutely love the subtext about meaningless speech. Nice review, Simon.

February 9, 2011 at 8:18 AM
SugaryCynic said...

This sounds awesome! All this cool shit comes out of Canada when I'm not paying attention. Great review as always

February 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM