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Truly coming from the genre of Urban Fantasy, this film belongs with stories
such as Alan Dean Foster's "Into the Out of" or some of Charles de Lint's
more horrific tellings.
An anthropologist returns to the city after years of travelling and investigating, only to find that the spirits of the places he travelled have become aware of his probing eye, and have come looking in return. A balancing by the Manitou, as it were. The film has a heavy, oppressive mood to it, but leaves the watcher to figure out a great deal of the content for themselves.
Coming from the same director as "Die Hard" and "The 13th Warrior", this is a rather surprisingly subtle film, and quite delightful in it's execution. Highly recommended, if you can find it.
This is a great horror-fantasy. It's very complicated and surreal, but, if you can dig it, it is a good one. I loved it. In it, Pierce Brosnan turns in an excellent performance as a French anthropologist in L.A. with his wife. He's brought into an emergency room after being attacked by unknown assailants, where he dies. But, before he goes, he somehow manages to pass his memories on to a doctor (Lesley-Anne Downe). She begins to slide into hallucinatory states where she sees how and why Brosnan was killed, with the dead anthropologist every step of the way in his flashbacks. For some reason, some streetpunks are very interested in his house and he finds that they have built a shrine to a murder in his garage. He begins to track them and study their behavior and how they live. It's not very long at all before he not only realizes that these people are no human beings, but also becomes the hunted as they begin to terrorize him. Then, the doctor finds that the mysterious, mystical demons known as "nomads" want her next. Some parts are extremely creepy, like the sequence with the nuns. Man, that was eerie. I liked this movie a lot, even if it was as complicated as it is. "Nomads" is, without a doubt, a thinking man's horror film.
And the theory is, as spelled out by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro in her book of the same name, that there are earthbound, malevolent spirits who bring madness to any human that makes camp with them. That people don't realize that a percentage of what they see or hear is not.....there! Most people are luckier, they don't look so closely. But Pierce Brosnan's character, being the inquisitive person he is, has looked.......too closely. Now, these nomadic beings, who are attracted to places of calamity, have taken an interest in Brosnan and he is warned by someone, who may or may not be one of 'them'. Warned to leave, change his job and move away. It's all very interesting to watch. And afterward, you can't stop thinking about it. Yes, it contains flavors from the 80's but it is still thought provoking. Read the book too!
I am a sucker for a well told ghost story and that's exactly what "Nomads" is. Pierce Brosnan and Lesley-Anne Down turn in powerful and convincing performances as the doctor and the anthropologist linked by a telepathic bond. The non-linear narrative in which Down relives the last days of Brosnan's life is brilliant and effective. An intelligent and creepy film that will not disappoint if you are looking for a change from the typical Hollywood shocker.
Got this cheap on a sale. I've been having this 80's season with
watching movies and decided to purchase it without any prior knowledge
of it. I was just surprised it's a McTiernan movie I hadn't heard of.
I wasn't completely convinced at first and thought that it was 2 euros flushed down the toilet. The story picks up quite slow and the beginning is executed in a style I wasn't very fond of. Brosnan portraying a frenchman was a bit annoying too. But after 30 minutes or so, I was pretty hooked to see how the movie would eventually unfold.
Even tho it turned out to be "ok", it's got a lot of flaws. It feels as if it would've needed a lot more substance in script. The whole nomad story is pretty vague and there's not much background info on Brosnans expeditions, which would've made this movie more gripping and interesting. The connection is there, but to me it didn't deliver. I was left a bit confused with a lot of things. It almost goes into David Lynch territory at times, which isn't a completely bad thing, but you need to have that "something" to pull off a supernatural mystery like this. To me this wasn't such a movie, even tho it may not be too far from succeeding. Something was missing from the story.
I was also left wondering if the movie had worked better without the doctor lady completely, concentrating on Brosnans character. The whole flashback/hallucination thing was mostly just confusing. There was some nice editing at times and it added to the tension, but I still feel this movie would've worked better in a more linear fashion, dropping the doctor character completely.
So, the initial story was interesting, but the execution made it a mess. Maybe I should watch it again to appreciate the structure, but at the moment I don't see myself spending another 90 minutes on it. I'll keep it in my movie library tho, just in case I wan't to revisit it at some point.
As a side note, the movie contains one of the most brutal scenes I've witnessed on screen. It's not graphic at all and is portrayed from a distance, but it comes very unexpected. It really made me feel uncomfortable.
6 points for the story and originality, may be a bit generous tho. Maybe it was worth the 2 euros I payed for it, but not more. McTiernan continues to be a mystery of a director, having made classics and my favorites Die Hard and Predator, but still capable of creating an artsy movie like this and some complete garbage like Rollerball remake.
One of those rare fantasy movies that has the courage to be conceptually
uncompromising with its audience, this plays with several layers of reality
so that often one is uncertain if the particular scene currently on-screen
can be taken at face value or not ... yet by the movie's end all makes
perfectly coherent sense according to the movie's own internal
Brosnan and Down are not the actors you'd expect to find playing this sort of material, but Down turns in a perfectly creditable performance -- as does Brosnan whenever (which is, fortunately, most of the time) he doesn't have to speak: his French accent is lamentable. Prime acting honours, though, must go to Anna Maria Monticelli; her portrayal of a French academic's French wife in an unknown city is pitch-perfect.
If you enjoy the best of written contemporary fantasy and are dissatisfied by how rarely screened fantasy matches it, usually as a result of Hollywood defaults, then you'll whoop with joy on discovering Nomads.
A French anthropologist (Pierce Brosnan's first leading role in a
feature movie) moves to Los Angeles and is followed by the evil spirits
of an extinct tribe he once uncovered. A woman doctor (Lesley-Anne Down
who married director William Friedkin) investigates and becomes the
next target of a group of rare people with nomadic life .
This is an eerie as well as supernatural chiller about a society of malevolent ghosts set in Los Angeles and dealing with a mysterious anthropologist well performed by Pierce Brosnan and the woman doctor finely acted by Lesley-Anne Dowen who investigates the weird deeds . The film packs gruesome images, grisly killings , amazing events , and intense horror sequences . It is a spasmodically effective thriller plenty of suspense , continuous flashbacks and nightmares , chills and plot twists . Nomads notables include pop stars such as Adam Ant and second screen appearance from legendary singer/song writer Josie Cotton . In addition , a cult actress , Mary Woronow and veteran Nina Foch . Director John McTiernan is an expert at staging action and thrills and here he has proved talent at concealing explosive final to individual sequences until it arrives . Catching score though filled with pop music and synthesizer was composed by Bill Conti of Karate Kid. Atmospheric cinematography by Stephen Ramsey , being necessary a correct remastering .
The motion picture was professionally directed by John McTiernan , though has some boring and confusing moments . McTiernan's first efforts at filmmaking were all in the terror genre , and none too successful at all , such as ¨Watcher¨, ¨The demon's daughter¨ and this ¨Nomads¨ . McTiernan is especially known for directing violent, high-energy action-adventures and very active movement of camera . His movies have an explosive combination of suspense and dynamite action that make them irresistible , and boosted by big stars . McTiernan confirmed his ascension to blockbuster with ¨Predator¨ and ¨Die hard¨ , which few expected to be such huge hits , they are two violent , exciting thrillers , as he broke through to the big time . In his subsequent films used big stars as Sean Connery , Schwarzenegger , Willis , Travolta and again Pierce Brosnan , all of them appeared in ¨The hunt for Red October¨, ¨Medicine man¨, ¨Last action hero¨, ¨Die hard with vengeance¨ , ¨Basic¨ and ¨The Thomas Crown affair¨.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This flick has been knocking around on Encore for the last few weeks
and, never having seen it, I thought I'd give it a look. My reaction
was mixed. While Brosnan does a really ridiculous French accent, the
acting was decent, and the atmosphere was genuinely creepy.
This was one of those movies that, like 'Near Dark', assumes the audience has half a brain and makes them think a little. What exactly are the Nomads? It's never spelled out - it's left up to the viewer to decide. Now, while this can be a good strategy (it worked like a charm in 'Near Dark'), sometimes you can go a little overboard.
This was one of those times. While I have my own ideas as to what the Nomads were and what they did, a teensy bit of explanation from Director/Writer John McTiernan would've been useful.
But overall, it was a decent way to spend 90 minutes. And check out the last scene... pretty trippy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
John McTiernan's directorial debut has earned seven ten star votes
along with a few nines and eights as of writing this review. I find it
hard to believe that Nomads can be considered "brilliant" or a
"masterpiece" more than his later works like Die Hard and the
underrated 13th Warrior when he had more experience under his belt. The
aggregate score of five is more indicative of where this film truly
We are introduced to a bloodied Jean-Claude Pommier (Pierce Brosnan) a French anthropologist that whispers into the ear of his attending doctor (Lesley-Anne Down as Dr. Eileen Flax) somehow transferring his last memories to her just before he dies. Soon Dr. Flax is plagued by hallucinatory flashbacks that tell the story of Pommier's last days on earth told oddly enough from a third person point of view. Jean-Claude and his wife have just moved into a house in L.A. and becomes intrigued by the local ruffians that insist on congregating outside of his home. After finding graffiti scrawled upon his garage Pommier decides to pursue this group and analyze what sort of mindset drives these people to choose this kind of nomadic life. Soon Pommier becomes obsessed with observing these people prompting him to approach the nomads for an impromptu photo session. When the photos develop Jean-Claude realizes that these people are anything but normal. It then becomes the task of Dr. Flax to save Pommier's wife and flee their common supernatural pursuers.
Nomads sadly reflects the era it was made in when it comes to the absurdly dressed gang. They appear like glam-rocker extras from a Mad Max movie. Mary Woronov bares the brunt of this as her heavy makeup and teased hair make her look like a transvestite. It's just very hard to take them as a serious threat. The Irish born Brosnan and England bred Down both constantly slip in and out of character making me wonder why they had to play a French man and an American doctor respectively. The ending is a bit of a disappointment as it seems even ghosts must respect state jurisdiction. Nomads starts with promise and tails off drastically toward the end. Not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination just not as good as some reviewers would have you think. But don't take my word for it, rent it yourself and give me your thoughts.
If you are in the right mood, this movie can really creep you out. Plot
wise it's not perfect and the French accents are best viewed as comic
relief. But some films have a moment that rises above the norm, and
there are several in this piece. In a way I'm happy that every little
loose end isn't tidied up and explained.
Wondering if Pierce would consider appearing in a sequel. After all, his wife could have had a baby that would want to meet daddy. There is a whole new generation of annoying music to license. A gritty, hand-held update (shot on HD video) could hit the spot.
Anyway, relax and suspend disbelief. It will all be over in 90 minutes anyway ...
[2015 update -- a U.S blu-ray release has been advertised for August. Hoping they will give it a 5.1 sound upgrade!]
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