After The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, writer/director Frank Darabont continues his one-man championing of the Stephen King estate with an adaptation of novella The Mist. After a thunderstorm in an isolated rural community, graphic artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) heads down to his local supermarket, only to join a cross-section of the town’s other inhabitants hemmed indoors by a mysterious mist.
At its heart The Mist is pure B Movie, more pulp fiction than big budget sci-fi thriller, but Darabont imbues everything with such genuine gravity that it’s difficult not to be swept along. Even the stock characters of the townspeople are played with a knowing veracity, which develops them well beyond stereotypes, particularly Marcia Gay Harden’s religious nut Mrs Carmody, and Jane continues his run of solid, empathetic leading man performances.
The Mist’s allegory for small town society aspires to represent today’s political climate much as Invasion of the Body Snatchers did in 1956, and a brief explanation of the origins of The Mist’s new inhabitants by a couple of half-mad government soldiers sharpens the community-fear metaphor nicely.
But the film’s main distinguishing feature is the ending; Darabont affixes a surprising twist to the end of the film, which, as with Stanley Kubrick’s embroidering of The Shining’s conclusion, alters the original author’s intention significantly. Like The Mist as a whole, it’s one more indication of Darabont’s ability to infuse B-movie clichés with A-Grade imagination.
General release from Fri 4 Jul.