Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mind Games

Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: John Farris
Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving
1978 | United States | R | 118 mins

Brian De Palma solidified himself as a household name after the success of Carrie. He'd tackled the horror genre previously, and noteworthy, with films such as Sisters and Phantom of the Paradise, but Carrie firmly placed his stamp as a filmmaker to watch. Following on the wave of Carrie's success De Palma decided to stick with the theme of psychokinetics with his next film The Fury written by John Farris and based upon his novel.

Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) is a wanted man on the run trying to locate his son Robin (Andrew Stevens) who's been kidnapped by a secret government agency because of his pyschokinetic powers. Desperate to find him, Peter stumbles across Gillian (Amy Irving), a girl with similar psychic abilities. The two team up to try to uncover Robin's whereabouts and stop Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) from forcing and turning Robin's powers against them.

Brian De Palma shifts his gears slightly with The Fury when compared with his previous entries into the horror genre. While the elements of horror remain, he's instead set it more to the background while bringing action and thriller elements forefront. Featuring a few action-set-pieces and a car chase The Fury attempts to get the adrenaline pumping rather then going for the jugular. Kirk Douglas unfortunately plays Peter Sandza quite ham-fisted and his attempts at humour feel wrongfully injected into the script which fall flat and detract from the story. John Farris' script also feels weak and drawn-out to where the film would have played better at a 90-minute runtime.

The Fury ultimately loses momentum after the opening sequence and neither De Palma's direction nor Farris' script can fully decide if they are making an action movie, a thriller, a horror film, or even a comedy in some cases. The acting is luke warm across the board even though it features heavy hitters like Douglas and John Cassavetes, but the characters just aren't engaging. But aside from being quite boring and tedious The Fury does have one positive: it features one the most explosive climaxes that predates the infamous exploding head in David Cronenberg's Scanners that will have you rewinding the ending just to see it again. But that aside, The Fury ends up being a lame followup to the pyschokinetic mastery of Carrie that De Palma hoped to cash in on, which is unfortunate because the premise and the people involved should have at least been hopeful.

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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