Now like I said, I'm still trying to work out the movie's message in my head, but though I don't all the way get it yet (maybe I'll have it worked out soon through the magical therapy of typing) I can't deny that this movie had me from beginning to end. It's a very simple, not in the least bit over-stylized, way of making a movie and presenting a unique story to the audience. Three people in a room, but still able to communicate with and receive information from the outside world, where something very frightening is happening. Think "War of the Worlds," where you hear about everything that is going on but never see it for yourself. It's maddening, but at the same time keeps you invested all the way through because that next little clue that is given from a news report or a surprise visitor could be the thing that ties it all together for you.
And that's what I love about claustrophobic movies like this. You only know just as much as the main characters know and learn it at the same time they do. Aside from the beginning, which shows Grant driving to work, the movie never leaves the radio station. Even when Grant opens the front door to leave at one point, the camera angle is still facing inside the building, and not outside, keeping the characters and the audience trapped there. You're forced to really concentrate on the dialogue to see if you can pick up on anything that will help you solve the mystery before the characters ('cause that always makes you feel smart for a little bit).
The acting for our three main characters is subtle yet believable for their situation. Stephen McHattie has a great voice and could probably no doubt have a career as an actual DJ. I didn't really get where a lot of his character's rambling at the beginning of the film came from and why Sydney always wanted to make him shut up after two sentences, but I guess it was just because he was trying to stir up controversy in the small town where everybody knows everybody else. Sydney herself is a very sweet, intelligent woman; as is Laurel-Ann. We don't really get to know a whole lot about these people, though, which is maybe a small downfall of the film.
What, then, is the message of Pontypool? I honestly don't know. I have few ideas running around in my head but none of them are really sticking. Language, or our ability to tell stories, is what supposedly separates us from the animals - just an ironic twist that language is the thing that turns us into animals? Is it a comment on the English language itself and how bastardized it has become? Or is it about relationships and communications - telling us to stop trying to communicate with each other using meaningless words and focus more on the feelings in our hearts and our bodies, and not our minds? If you say a word over and over again enough times (as the victims of the virus do), it starts to lose its meaning - has language made us lose the meaning in something about ourselves or what we are as human beings? Any of those theories make sense? Bah, I don't care. Still like the movie, even if I'm totally wrong on all of what I just said.
Despite me being an airhead and not really getting it, Pontypool is still a refreshingly original and interesting sorta-zombie movie. If you haven't seen the movie, I might have sounded really confusing up there but I didn't want to give away the whole "infection" story here - it's a bit more interesting when you find that out for yourself in the film. I also hear that if you want to get even more confused by this story than what the movie did for you, you should read the book it is based on - Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess (who, by the way, should use a pseudonym because of Anthony Burgess.... just sayin'). Anyway, definitely recommend this one.
And seriously, what the fuck is up with Blogger putting all the photos I insert at the TOP of the entire post instead of where my cursor is? It just started doing this to me and I really don't like it.