Artist: Lou Rogers

Monday, June 12, 2017

Talking ourselves to death: Pontypool

Pontypool (2008)

The first hour of Pontypool is amazing. Superb. Textbook ideal level of excitement, confusion, menace, and indirection.

The trouble with most suspense/puzzle/thriller stories is that eventually, at about the 2/3 mark, the viewer has enough information to formulate an explanation, as do the protagonists. And the only antidote to a solved puzzle is to begin a new one.

Three people in a small town radio station receive a collage of reports about odd events and behaviour by the populace. Their attempts to form a clear picture are thwarted by dropped calls, distractions, and "human resources" issues carried over from the start of their shift.

After an hour of the rising arc of dangerous and weird incidents, they go off the air. At that point we are left watching the characters discuss their theories while their building is under seige. The dramatic tension begins to flag.

From that point, I had the sinking feeling that we the viewers were being fed a solipsistic language game by a dramaturg trapped in a corner.

Readers of William S. Burroughs' "Word Virus" will find much of interest.


Jay

12 July 2017



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