[Movie Review] The Mothman Prophecies

The Mothman PropheciesStarring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, David Eigenberg
Director: Mark Pellington
Genre: Thriller
Cert: 12
Released: 2002

You know those Christmas presents that you are certain you are getting? You have a hunch that someone has bought you something in particular and you are really looking forward to it. Even the package that it is wrapped in makes it look like it is the present you desire. Then you open it – and it’s not there. This other present is rubbish and you are very disappointed.

Bad analogy, but that’s “The Mothman Prophecies” for you in a nutshell.

Washington Post journalist John Klein (Gere – “Chicago”, “Unfaithful”, “Autumn in New York”) has his world turned upside down after he and his wife Mary (Messing – TVs “Will and Grace”) are involved in a car crash. She dies as a result of her injuries and after her death, a distraught Klein discovers a series of mysterious and disturbing drawings that his wife left behind.

A few years later things get very bizzare. Klein, driving through the night to reach the Virginia capital, ends up getting stranded in a small Ohio town – 400 miles in the wrong direction. He discovers that something is very wrong when an angry local man (Patton – “Remember the Titans”, “Entrapment”, “Armageddon”, “The Client”) accosts him at gunpoint and accuses him of harassing him three nights in a row. Local cop, Connie (Linney – “The House of Mirth”, “The Truman Show”, “Dave”), tells Klein that ordinary local people have been behaving very oddly for some time. One of the strangest occurrences is a sighting of a peculiar winged-creature – the same one that Klein’s wife had drawn two years earlier.

Something strange is happening and Klein, haunted by the memory of his wife’s question ‘did you not see it?’, needs to find out why he has been lured to this small town and what it has to do with his wife’s death.

“The Mothman Prophecies” is an intriguing premise, and indeed there is plenty to get excited about early on. But for some reason, this near two-hour film degenerates into a repetitive, boredom-inducing, series of deliberating scenes at the expense of real action and story progression. Diretor Mark Pellington, who was responsible for the enjoyable “Arlington Road”, creates an independent feel to the movie by using a lot of high angles and fuzzy shots to portray confusion and an element of bewilderment. To that end, he’s done well.

But the pacing of the movie is poor and it soon becomes a chore to keep interest as for large portions very little actually happens that influences the storyline. The acting is passable but I will admit to being quite impressed with the once maligned Richard Gere. His character is gentle and perplexed, deeply traumatised by his wife death, and driven to discover the secret behind what he discovers to be ‘The Mothman’.

This is a TV movie wrapped in a big-name blanket, and one is advised to steer well clear.


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