The clean living, God fearing Sgt Howie travels to Summerisle,
off the coast of Scotland, to investigate the disappearance
of a young girl, Rowan. He soon discovers that the locals
are a weird and unhelpful bunch, and perhaps just a little
too fond of the old ways...
to describe The Wicker Man isn't easy. Is it a horror
movie? Clearly not. Is it in some way a supernatural thriller?
Again no. In fact, the film, although lumped in with fantasy
and horror genres is unlike anything else - and there's a
part of its charm. It's also a smart film with a clever script,
great characters, some superb performances and just the right
amount of suspense. But best of all is the ending. Do the
good guys win? That depends on who you regard as being on
the side of good. In the end, the sun rises for the islanders
as they deliver God's sole representative on Summerisle to
a fiery, pagan death. Ouch!
The idea of having an isolated island where its inhabitants
still follow the old religion is pretty promising, but you
wouldn't bet on it producing a film of this calibre. You actually
feel that what you're watching, at times, is so close to real
that it looks almost like a documentary. Would that be the
power of the old religion infused into each frame? You couldn't
say for sure it wasn't.
release comes complete with some excellent extras. You get
a longer version of the film - the reason for its existence
is covered in some fine documentaries on disc two. In fact,
by the time you've watched the contents of both DVDs you really
feel you've got inside The Wicker Man - although not
literally as that would be a tad uncomfortable. And if you
like conspiracy theories then you'll love watching Christopher
Lee (the Lord of Summerisle) explain his views on why the
project almost failed. Great stuff.
finally, my least favourite part of the film - its music.
I know some people love it but I consider it too clean and
precise. It should have been earthy and driven rather than
slightly prissy. But, for those who like the score, there's
a bonus disc of it, lovingly cleaned and restored. As a stand
alone item it's very good, just not to my taste.
2004 the magazine Total Film named The Wicker Man
the sixth greatest British film of all time. I think this
is an underestimation of the movie. As for the remake, it
won't be making anyone's top ten list, unless its of worthless
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