John Klein (Richard Gere) is involved in a car accident with his wife, but while he is unharmed, his wife mentions a moth-shaped creature appearing. After her death, John begins to investigate the secrets behind this mentioned Mothman. It takes him to the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where he discovers a connection with the same problem. Here he meets Connie Mills (Laura Linney), while he continues to unravel the mystery of what the Mothman really is.Written by
Based on actual events that occurred in the 60's. John and Mary Klein are a happy couple who have just purchased a new house. The excitement over their new place is short-lived when they have a car accident following the purchase. Mary winds up in the hospital with a head injury, but the CT scans reveal that she has something far worse wrong with her. She eventually dies, leaving a devastated John to discover that she had been drawing sketches of moth-like figures during her time at the hospital. A year passes, and John is scheduled to do an interview for his Washington Post job. On his drive to the interview, he mysteriously winds up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia with no recollection of how he got so far out of his way. Mysterious events are plaguing this small town, events that may be connected to what happened to his wife.
I first saw this way back on opening night and loved it. As someone who is really into the unexplained, myths and legends, this film is right up my alley. The story of the Mothman is one of the most fascinating I've ever come across, and while The Mothman Prophecies takes a great deal of liberty with the story, it's a terrific film all the same.
I've never cared for Richard Gere, but I fully admit that he's very good here. He nails the confused, distraught mental state of John Klein, and is very believable in the role. Laura Linney is also solid, though that's no surprise. The standout, though, is Will Patton. One of my favorite character actors, his portrayal of the rugged Gordon Smallwood, an individual who seems to have a deep connection to the Mothman, is absolutely perfect. This guy rarely fails to impress the hell out of me. He just has an awesome screen presence.
The abnormal occurrences throughout the film certainly produce an unsettling atmosphere. Coupled with eerie imagery and surreal filming techniques, they help the film become quite nightmarish. The use of sound is most effective as well, with all sorts of bizarre noises being heard, including the odd screeching noise that the Mothman was said to have made in some of the real accounts. We also get a moody score that's a perfect fit for the film. Just listening to the soundtrack is guaranteed to give you chills. I know from experience. Speaking of chills, one of my favorite scenes is when Klein speaks with the Mothman entity, having dubbed itself Indrid Cold, on his motel room's phone. It's a wonderfully tense scene, and Cold's voice gets under your skin.
The effects of the occurrences on the small town of Point Pleasant are well explored, as many different aspects and accounts are introduced. The town itself comes off as a bleak and unnerving place. Almost lifeless. The occurrences have basically killed off the town's livelihood. Gere's John Klein becomes increasingly paranoid the longer he stays in Point Pleasant, and when his dead wife appears to the sheriff, he becomes increasingly tortured. It isn't long before he's driven to a distant and isolated state of being, much like Gordon before him.
The climactic scenes do not disappoint either. The scene where Klein realizes what is really going to happen makes for a powerful moment, and the final scenes on the Silver Bridge are as tense and suspenseful as they are exciting. It's a very well-done climax, both dramatically and from a technical standpoint. A fine way to finish the film.
Overall, this is a deeply eerie, surreal piece of work. Nightmarish really is the best word for it. It also has interesting characters and some emotional moments. I'm a big fan.
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