Today I've witnessed one of the most horrifying and bleak movie-going experiences of my life.
Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's "The Mist" is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a lot of endurance from its viewers - and it's a good thing.
Instead of depending on a oh-so-cute young cast, it revolves around a group of Maine townsfolk - characters and archetypes so common in King's oeuvre. Thomas Jane is very convincing as the middle-aged, handsome, very American, quarterback hero that King uses in pretty much in all of his stories: he is Vic Trenton, Bill Denbrough...His shortcomings and strengths are real, palpable, and minimalistic. That, in effect, makes it even more appealing.
Then there is Marcia Gay Harden...her portrayal of a religious fanatic is one of the best villains I have seen in recent memory.
The questions that are raised with regards to the role of God in our society and how unassuming people can turn to bloodthirsty fundamentalists by one good orator is scary and has to be viewed to comprehend.
As for the ending, I thought "No Country for Old Men" - my favorite film of the year so far - had a bleak ending that haunts the viewer long after the credits roll, but "The Mist" tops that. I can't even remember having a reaction of this magnitude to a film for a very long time.
It may not be perfect, but it is one hell of a ride and a welcome return for Frank Darabont.