Opening 18 Oct 2007
Wreckage of the space ship Patriot falls from the sky and crashes to the earth between Washington D.C. and Dallas. Curious bystanders who pick up a piece come into contact with a sticky substance and change into Stepford persons, without emotion, but with the singular goal to draw everyone else into this circle of living robots. Psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her colleague/boyfriend Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) attempt to solve the mystery of the threatening pandemic. There are tense moments when Carol’s son Oliver visits his father Tucker (Jeremy Northam). Tucker works for an epidemic control center. He was first on the scene and first to be infected, which causes him to act even weirder than he did before he divorced Carol.
This film seems to have gone through too many re-writes (script: David Kajganich); especially the ending is a let-down, too pat and too easy, even after a 10-minute superfluous car chase. I could hardly keep my eyes open, but that might have been in sympathy for Kidman, who is not allowed to sleep in order to prevent contamination. Yawning is contagious; just try watching someone fighting off sleep. This is supposedly a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (book 1955, films 1956 and 1978). Why did we need a new version? Maybe it’s time for another catastrophe film; maybe Kidman needed to pay the rent. Here, cell phones upstage the actors who would have been fine with better lines. I suggest: check out the original Body Snatchers or, more up-to-date, for something with more excitement and laughs, see Robert Rodriquez’ Planet Terror if you are up for catastrophe and zombie-like people. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel, originally from Hamburg, is one of several German directors, e.g., Florian von Donnersmark, Florian Baxmeyer, Marco Kreuzpaintner, etc., who are presently working in Hollywood. (Becky Tan)