Archive for the ‘Tony Burgess’ Tag

Pontypool (2008)   5 comments


Wow.  After seeing PONTYPOOL on a bunch of best of lists, I finally watched it.  What a fantastic film!  A talk-radio disc jockey, his engineer, and producer broadcast their usual morning news/talk show with a difference.  On this particular morning, the sleepy, rural town of Pontypool, Ontario has a tiny problem.  Hordes of people run amok and no one knows why.  As the three contact their usual news sources and their field reporter to get to the bottom of this weird phenomenon, their initial cynicism gives way to worry, then abject fear.  Why is this happening?  The three main characters remain in the dark until Dr. Mendez (Hrant Alianak) climbs into the basement window of the radio station and joins the party.  The doctor has a sensible theory as to why the local population has started to lose it.  It has to do with language and affection and words and stuff.  Is that the answer?

“Can you stop repeating that?”

PONTYPOOL is a play-like film.  The majority of it takes place in a radio station basement.  I love play-like films.  I’d rather watch a few well-developed characters exchange words than see a truckload of lens flares and an impossible stunt, but that’s me.  The four main characters hold your attention without getting shrill or desperate.  Writer Tony Burgess gives us a character-driven story with true suspense and he does it in a classic film way.  Ripping pages from the books of Jacques Tourneur’s film CAT PEOPLE and Steven Spielberg’s modern classic, JAWS, PONTYPOOL tells its horror story subtlely, without revealing too much.  The script takes its time.  We meet the small cast and get to know them so when they’re in danger, we care.

“We’re gonna need a bigger radio station.”

I don’t want to give away any of the clever plot so I’ll say this.  PONTYTPOOL is one of the best films of any genre I’ve seen in years.  It’s witty and intelligent and real.  Real scary, that is.  Stephen McHattie owns this film.  His DJ, Grant Mazzy is a messy, arrogant, and whip-smart alcoholic and we can’t wait to hear what he has to say.  His engineer, Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly) is a smart, capable woman, and his producer, Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle), is responsible, intelligent, and kind.  It’s rare that I like all the major players in a horror film, but there it is.

“I’ve always relied on the kindness of DJs.”

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to reveal the surprises in PONTYPOOL and you’ll enjoy it a lot more if I don’t.  Trust me, you want to see this.  Parts of the film stand out.  Apart from the amazing performances by all four of the major cast members, there’s also the off camera role Rick Roberts plays as field reporter, Ken Loney.  Without ever appearing on screen, Roberts paints a picture.  The obituary segment which appears mid-film is also incredibly effective using only still photographs and narration.  Just amazing.  I love  PONTYPOOL.  Many films show up on must-see lists.  This film truly belongs there.



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