Man, David Cronenberg is one weird dude. He’s got three films on the list, and all of them are just so… odd. You can’t even describe them as odd, because that would be doing the films a disservice by undervaluing them. What’s most apparent, however, is that while Cronenberg’s films are very strange, he is a good filmmaker; solid in his storytelling and construction of the end product, and nowhere is this more apparent than in 1986’s The Fly, starring Jeff Goldblum in probably his best performance.
Seth Brundle comes on to a journalist and claims to be working on a project that will “change the world as we know it”: teleportation. After struggling with getting it to work on living beings, he decides to do one final test and teleport himself; little does he know a common housefly is in the teleporter pod with him, and the two become fused together, which quickly causes both positive and negative changes to Brundle himself. That’s really all there is to the film, though it has a surprisingly effective romance story (albeit a tragic one). The main draw is of course the signature Cronenberg special visual effects, and no I don’t mean CGI; everything here is practical makeup and design, and it is as disgusting as it is impressive; I felt myself cringing at various points in the last half hour or so.
I was taken back somewhat by the transformation of the Stathis character from the film’s initial antagonist into a much more sympathetic character, and the complementary shift of “Brundlefly”, and ultimately I found it a good thing. It was a surprise move, and for me it worked, as did the rest of the film, especially the effects. If you don’t mind the Cronenberg weirdness (though it is much more mainstream and toned down than, say, Naked Lunch), this is definitely one to check out; it’s a mere 95 minutes as well, so it’s wrapped up in a nice, hideously neat package. Dunno if the Cronenberg weirdness is worth three slots on the list, but I wasn’t displeased that I watched this, so I’ll call that a win.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10