Friday, April 02, 2010

Movie Recommendation: Fido

I've wanted to see this movie for a while: I heard a capsule description of it and was intrigued. It turned out to live up to the promise of the (very) quirky premise and then some.

In brief, Fido is a "boy and his dog" story in an alternate 1950s America where a radiation dusting caused people to rise from the dead as zombies. In the wake of the zombie war, idyllic America goes on behind containment fences and many households have a zombie - secured with a pacifying collar - as a servant. (Because I was watching the movie on the Sundance channel, I actually missed the first minute because I thought the very clever short film-within-the-film intro was a channel thing, not part of the movie, but I caught on quick.)

I can't praise the detail and thought that went into the setting enough. Most of the elements play perfectly into the black comedy atmosphere of the movie. The 1950s, with
its repressed portrayal of perfection, is the ideal time period for the storyline and characters. Children are taught marksmanship in school; people pay for special burials where the head is interred separately.

So much of this movie is so wrong and it works wonderfully. There's the cavalier attitude towards the continuous risk of zombies breaking free - it's almost treated as a nuisance. (The whole timbre with which the subject is treated prevents the movie from treading on horror territory.) There's lines like, "So your father tried to eat you. Does that mean we all have to be unhappy? Forever?"

And Carrie-Anne Moss makes a fantastic 50s housewife. Though it's her son Timmy's story, her transformation throughout the movie is the thing to watch.

Billy Connolly, despite having top billing, doesn't have much to do except grunt and stare dumbly. And spend a lot of time in makeup (presumably).

I think possibly the only thing that jarred me is there was a point at which I couldn't reconcile the consequences of loose zombies with the sympathy we're supposed to feel for the main characters. In a non-comedy, they would be required to wail, gnash and wallow in guilt. Here it's not appropriate, but the disconnect was slightly bothersome.

That said: I don't like zombie movies. I don't like plotlines that are weird just for the sake of it. But I really enjoyed this movie. It's worth seeing - but understand it's definitely a black comedy and you have to be a bit morbid to appreciate it.

1 comment:

Aubrie said...

I liked it as well, but it left me with a wierd feeling afterward. I didn't know what to think. Maybe it was because of the same reasons as you. I'm not sure.

I'm working on your short story and loving it! I should have it done soon :)