Saturday, 7 February 2015

odd thomas

odd thomas is a supernatural adventure film based on a series of books i haven't read and directed by stephen sommers, who made the mummy films.

the film is about this guy called odd who can see dead people and helps them find whoever killed them or whatever. he can also see these weird cgi monster things that apparently show up at the scene of an impending disaster. so when he starts seeing dozens of these things in his home town he realises something big is going down and decides to do something about it.

i struggled with this film at first. while it's refreshing not to have to sit through another origin story, odd thomas throws you right into the middle of a story that makes you feel like you should've read the books. there are all these characters who aren't really set up properly, they just turn up and we accept everything is cool, like the fact that the cops know he can see dead people and are fine with it. most of this is done through voiceover, and every time odd is presented with a challenge he says something like, 'but of course i trained myself to be super awesome at fighting' or whatever and gets out of it. that started to bug me after a while.

speaking of things that bugged me, the way women are leered over by the camera in this film was full on michael bay territory. none of the women wear much and there was even a moment where a tall blond runs towards the camera in slow-motion with her breasts bouncing up and down. seriously, fuck off.

and speaking of women, odd also has this impossibly hot, intelligent and courageous girlfriend who feels like the masturbation fantasy of a teenage dean koontz fan. they have this perfect relationship where they are never anything but 100% in love and odd spends a lot of time telling us how amazing she is, although we don't see all that much of it other than her being hot. the thing about this is, in the voiceover he keeps saying he's never been normal as if he's some kind of freak but actually he has kind of a perfect life - he has a purpose, he has a perfect girlfriend, he even seems to enjoy his day job. it feels like there's no challenge to him, like he's too good at everything and doesn't have anything to gain.

but he does have everything to lose, and that, ultimately, is how the film won me over. i don't want to spoil anything, but i was practically in tears at the end.

at it's heart, this isn't a film about ghosts and solving supernatural crimes, it's a film about life and it's a love story. on this level it really works and i was happy i stuck with it. the performances are excellent, particularly anton yelchin in the lead who really sells odd as a realistic and sympathetic character, despite the unreal nature of what he's doing.  there's good support from willem dafoe and addison timlin is great as his girlfriend, i just wish she was wearing more clothes.

overall, i think it's a flawed film but there's enough heart here to make it worth your time and on an emotionally level it really works.

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