Feast of Love

Starring Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright and Daniel Craig. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
Running Time: 99 mins
Rated: Rated M (moderate violence and themes)

Received poorly by public and critics, word came out that there was a change of directors for The Invasion, producers' intervention and re-editing.

If one looks at the film without knowing anything about the original from the 1950s and the 1978 remake, it might pass as a moderately suspenseful science fiction. (Abel Ferrara also re-made the film in the 1990s.) But, most audiences who want to see the film will be well versed in the other films and will find this version wanting.

It is a pity because Nicole Kidman does her best and the original director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, made that impressive film about Hitler's last days, Downfall. I presume he won't be in a hurry to rush back to Hollywood after this experience.

This version takes place in a big city of personal anonymity rather than a small American town. There is frequent reference to today's world troubles, especially Iraq and Afghanistan. When a spacecraft breaks up on return to earth, alien forces infiltrate earth and take possession of human beings who become conformist and emotionless pods. Nicole Kidman portrays a mother anxious to protect her son, especially from her infected former husband (Jeremy Northam), relying on the help of fellow-scientists (Jeffrey Wright and Daniel Craig whom some critics - not without justification - said it is difficult to tell when he is possessed or not!).

Nicole has to keep awake so that the infection cannot take hold and much of the film has her eluding capture by pretending to be emotionless and trying to stay awake.

One of the main differences from the other versions is the hopeful ending. This time the process can be reversed and the point is made very strongly that while brainwashed conformism might bring about peace in the world, it is at the expense of free will and human error.

Village Roadshow Out February 28

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting

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