Friday, 1 February 2013

The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man

I first saw the Wicker Man two or three years ago, and this was my first time watching it since then. I had enjoyed it the first time, and revisiting it was exactly the same. The film is based around a remote Scottish island called Summerisle where a girl has gone missing. A mainland policeman (Sgt. Howie) played by Edward Woodward is sent to the island to find her.
I think that the reason this film is so good is the general feeling of creepiness and wrongness that surrounds almost every scene in the film. Immediately after arriving on the island, everything is suspicious and you know as little as Sgt. Howie when he first arrives. The gradual reveal of the islands Pagan culture and history is great, and all of the supporting cast are great as the awkward and outsider-shy islanders.
The film is littered with creepy moments that make the island more unwelcoming and gradually reveal it to be a more and more unpleasant place, for example the schoolgirl who traps a beetle inside the missing girls school desk or the maypole scene. Christopher Lee plays the islands leader/occasional transvestite Lord Summerisle and is great as a seemingly amiable and complying character, but with something sinister about him, which is revealed as the film goes on.
The soundtrack is also a huge part of this film, with frequent interludes showing gatherings of islanders singing and dancing. All of the music is incredibly happy, which plays a huge part in adding to the unsettling feel of the film, and some of the songs are great standalone pieces of music.
The final moments are where the film really shines, with the tense procession around the island, which is incredibly creepy as the locals are dressed in animal masks and costumes which are all lifeless and imposing, especially the Punch costume which is easily the most unsettling of them all. The final scene is the best in the entire film and is quite horrible to watch, and is gives this already great film an ending which makes the overall experience even better.

Hal Chavasse

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