While recovering from a tragic accident on the road, the patrolman Edward Malus receives a letter from his former fiancée Willow, who left him years ago without any explanation, telling that her daughter Rowan is missing. Edward travels to the private island of Summerisle, where Willow lives in an odd community that plant fruits, and she reveals that Rowan is actually their daughter. Along his investigation with the hostile and unhelpful dwellers, Edward discloses that the locals are pagans, practicing old rituals to improve their harvest, and Rowan is probably alive and being prepared to be sacrificed. When he locates the girl, he finds also the dark truth about the wicker man. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Neil Labute should have his member slathered in honey and laced with bees (Spolier Alert)....
Everyone else who has commented negatively about this film have done excellent analysis as to why this film is so bloody awful. I wasn't going to comment, but the film just bugs me so much, and the writer/director in particular. So I must toss in my hat to join the naysayers.
I saw the original "Wicker Man" and really loved the cornucopia of music, sensuality, paganism in a modern world, and the clash of theological beliefs. This said, I am not part of the crowd that thinks remakes of great movies shouldn't be done. For example, I liked the original 1950's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", but equally enjoyed the 1978 remake. Both films can stand on their own. Another example is "The Thing". The original, as campy as it looks compared to today's standards, has a lot to be proud of in the 1982 remake with Kurt Russell (my all time favorite horror movie). So that small minority of people who like "The Wicker Man" re-make can not accuse me of dissing this piece of crap just because it's a re-make.
This film solidified for me Neil LaBute's sexism and misogynistic tendencies. It also made me wonder how executives, wanting to make a serious thriller, would green light a product that is so anti-female. There are too many scenes of Cage hitting women just because he's frustrated with them thwarting his investigation of a missing girl. would he react like this off the island in other cases where suspects aren't forthcoming? The original created a society in which men and women are equal participants in a Goddess based religion. The threat to the main character came from everyone, male and female. There was no sexual hierarchy.
The metaphor of bees, drones etc was a bit heavy handed and convenient ("The drone must die!"), especially when Cage's character has bee allergies. I kept wondering why the men on the island didn't fight back and use mere physicality to stop these women from treating them like grunts. These were not women with special supernatural powers, and half of them seemed to be pregnant, the other half old and fat, and the rest girls and thin blonde waifs, so if the men really wanted to escape they could do what most men do when they hate women. Physically dominate them. There didn't seem to be any guns or weapons beyond cutting tools to hold them if they were unhappy. But if they were content being drones, why make them unable to speak? They could be used as a threat to Cage because they will defend the community. They are drones because Neil LaBute seems to believe that a society ran by women would leave men castrated. (That movie was made already. "The Stepford Wives" anyone?) Classic symptoms from men who are afraid of what may happen if women got their sh*t together and were truly equal citizens.
The problem with the man-hating female society is that it makes uninteresting movie viewing and creates unintentional humor when Cage starts knocking women out. I belief LaBute should've left the society an egalitarian one, kept the sexuality and uninhibited lasciviousness, and pushed buttons of discomfort in regards to the children on that island. No one likes pedophiles or children to be sexually exploited. So how would a cop react if he saw lewd acts performed by adults with children around? There would be a logical mental leap that these children are abused, thus, an urgency created to save the missing child and get help for all the children. LaBute has said he created the fiancé and daughter story thread to give Cage's character an incentive to search. I don't think you need that. Any child abused will make an adult react to save them. The irony of course would be that the child Cage "saves" ultimately brings him death.
The dialogue was contrived and campy. The whole third act was hilarious. The audience I saw it with guffawed (and later booed at the end). I just thought the movie started off wrong when the letter arrived written in the fancy handwriting and all the flashbacks cutting into to show how wounded Cage is. We don't need that. Just show him arriving on the island for an investigation of a missing child. Most of us in America have seen "Law & Order" and other cop procedurals. We come into the movie as if we are Cage's partner solving a mystery.
So much potential...wasted. Neil LaBute, stick to talking head pictures for people who enjoy your male angst-ridden plays and flicks of that sort. Stay with your own company of men. Leave the thrillers for people who understand thrillers. Here is your jar of honey. I'll watch that.
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