Thursday, 4 April 2013

REVIEW - THE HOST


Dripping oh-so-steadily through a plot barely sufficient for a short film, The Host is a dreary experience. There's barely a moment that couldn't have been at least trimmed a little, as Andrew Dominik seems to pause on every beat, giving us time to take in all the little details... little details which aren't even there. The big details? We already took them in, long before the scene even started, back when we predicted what was going to happen, and thought that surely no film could ever be so dull as the one we were imagining. But The Host is. Aliens have taken over the Earth and a few humans lead a resistance. Their resistance amounts to living in caves and growing wheat, defending themselves against an invading species whose intentions appear to be to cuddle us into extinction. They're a peaceful race, incapable of lying and of violence, and they have rid the world of war. They also have great style, and can be identified by their shiny Lotus cars. And we're supposed to side with the tetchy, petty, scruffy humans? The aliens do actually carry pepper spray (or the like) to help capture the humans, but this doesn't violate their peaceful nature since the cans have the word 'PEACE' printed on them. Saoirse Ronan plays Melanie, who is so determined to resist the invasion that when she jumps several stories out of a window, she does greater damage to the tarmac than to herself. When her car veers off the road and flips over several times, she gets out and walks off. She spends days in the desert with very little water, and ends up with chapped lips. Her greatest test is yet to come, though, as she is forced to choose between two hunky boys! The Host is such a bore, its defining scenes, around which it is all staged, involve kissing. That's what we've been waiting all this time for. A kiss. Dear me! Dominik does little to drag himself out of the stinking bog that is Stephenie Meyer's source novel; it would seem that Shakespeare could adapt one of her works and it'd still be a turkey, so Dominik's efforts were DOA. There are, however, plentiful scenes of comedy, as Ronan takes on the role of two girls, one body, whose internal duologues are a hoot.