Saturday, July 10, 2010

Of Unknown Origin

(George P. Cosmatos, 1983)
This is by far the most thoughtful of Canada's man-versus-rat movies, but exactly how thoughtful do you want a man-versus-rat movie to be? For the first hour it is a real pleasure to watch Peter Weller playing an upwardly-mobile businessman matching wits with the elusive super-rodent who plagues his castle. Weller is engaging in a demanding role, and so are his weasel co-workers Kenneth Welsh and Maury Chaykin; in fact all the performances are understated and well-observed, including Shannon Tweed. Cosmatos has a flair for composition and really works the dramatic build, but as the movie wears on the gap between thoughtful and smart is exposed. The climax drains all the fun away in the service of an all-too-familiar screed about the 'savage' inner nature of the civilized urban man, too 'symbolic' and full of itself by half. He may think he's channelling Hemingway, but what we get is man-versus-rat as the missing link between "Taxi Driver" and Cosmatos' subsequent "Rambo", and I'll take "Deadly Eyes" over that any day.

No comments:

Post a Comment