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  Publicity Stills of "The Invasion"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Malin Akerman
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.theinvasionmovie.co.uk

Opening Day: 13 September 2007


DC psychiatrist Carol Bennell does not connect what happened to the shuttle with the bizarre occurrences that seem to accelerate around her: one of her patients is terrified that her husband has been replaced by a stranger; violent outbursts on the streets are quickly subdued; and a very strange substance comes home in her son Oliver’s Halloween candy—something that might, in fact, be alive. As the epidemic spreads, Carol discovers that the very people in charge of inoculation against it are spreading something far worse—a spore of unknown origin that attacks human DNA while the host sleeps, remaking it in the image of a lifeform that looks like us and talks like us, but with all human emotion drained away. Seemingly overnight, the people around her are transformed into hive-like beings with one imperative: to infect others and take control. Doing everything in her power to stay awake, Carol embarks on a desperate journey into a changed world to stay alive long enough to find her son. To hide among them, she will have to remain calm…betray no emotion…and, most of all, not fall asleep.

Movie Review:

Directed by Oliver Herschbiegel (2005's Oscar-nominated "Downfall") and written by Dave Kajganich, whose screenplay was reportedly a hot Hollywood commodity that drew no less than the likes of A-list talent Nicole Kidman and a pre-007 Daniel Craig to the cast. Although with a stellar cast, many were pushing the production of the film as shoddy, inconsistant and unpaced. Originally filmed two years ago, the film's scheduled release in August 2006 was abruptly pushed back a full twelve months when test screenings went unfavorably. Reshoots took place under the uncredited helm of the Wachowski Brothers (replacing director Oliver Hirschbiegel, who was by this time unavailable) and action scenes were added to buff things up which resulted Nicole Kidman involved in an accident that sent her to the hospital for medical treatment. Now that "The Invasion" has finally seen the light of day, the question is whether or not it was worth all the trouble.

After a major disaster involving NASA, the Centers for Disease Control discover an alien spore on some space wreckage. Within days, America is plunged into a “flu-like illness” pandemic. As the rest of the world reports a similar spreading disease, Dr. Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) begins to notice small changes around her Washington DC offices. Commuters become calmer and less rushed on their way to work, while patients complain of loved ones who no longer act like their “real” selves. She notices the same thing in her ex-husband Tucker (Jeremy Northam), a top level Presidential advisor. After a night of Halloween trick or treating turns up a strange, sticky substance, Bennell asks her boyfriend, Dr. Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) to work up the sample. Turns out, it’s some manner of foreign agent that replicates human DNA while merging it with some extraterrestrial entity. It is taking over the population, during the REM sleep phase, and it is up to Bennell to save her son if there is any hope for humanity to survive.

The Invasion is the type of SCI-FI/Horror film which plays out exactly like it should. Having expecting alot of talking and nothing exciting happen, writer Dave Kajganick really set up an on-screen scenario where things that would take place if this were a real life situation, do indeed occur. The films most eerie moments are watching the invasion begin and eventually become more and more dominant as people begin to notice their children and significant others have returned home as someone totally different than who they were when they left. All of this paranoia and who can you who can't you trust scenarios are blended in with the usual plot devices of an alien invasion film. The Invasion doesn't really delve into the key to stopping the takeover until late in the picture, but it does aid it's lead character with a clever little way to "blend in" with those who've been taken over early on. The lack of a definite way-to-save-humanity being present for most of the picture, really plays on the viewer psychologically because by that time, such a bleak picture has been painted and one wonders if it's only a matter of time before the few survivors eventually become "changed" themselves.

On the good points:
The film was well acted and well directed, despite the ongoing bashing of the several directoinal takes during production, and had a very interesting style of editing, with spots present, past and future scenes intercut, which felt helped to keep the pace of the film up. A major creep meter to the overall vibe was at its presents which suited the genre. The opening hour and change is an elegantly shot and rendered sci-fi thriller, and director Herschbiegel does a fine job of depicting the paranoia Carol experiences as she helplessly witnesses the decay of human society. Top-notch location shooting in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. grounds the story's otherworldly elements in a basis of reality, and several scenes are appropriately skin-crawling. As Carol, Nicole Kidman is her usual reliable self, fully committing to her role as a woman desperate to reunite with her son even as hope for a tomorrow dwindles. As Ben, Daniel Craig is good in an underwritten part, his strongest moments being the lighter ones early on when his loving friendship with Carol is built up.

The bad points:
Pretty much like the War of the worlds, The Invasion's ending seemed a little too wrapped up in such a fast pace not letting it fully bloom.

In this day and age of feed-the-fear 24-hour news channel talking heads piously pontificating about bio-chemical warfare and politicians waving the flag in fear of the threat of Anthrax and all its ilk, and with a veil of terror tossed over our eyes as if to lull/agitate us into a lemming-like state of constant anxiety, the old ideas brought forth by Jack Finney's "The Body Snatchers" (already adapted three times for the big screen) takes on an all-new sense of urgency that can only be described as a post-9/11 foreboding of doom. With a parting message that might trigger our hearts, the ironic end statement will certainly stir up thoughts of how our situation in the world is today.

Movie Rating:

(A compelling tense atmospheric invasion that will leave you unnerving.)

Review by Lokman BS

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