Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg, Charles Edward Pogue
Based on: George Langelaan‘s short story
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist working on a super-secret project with which he would like to impress journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). At first she is skeptical but when he actually beams her stocking across the room, she believes him and they start working together – she is documenting his progress and process, he is fueled by her attention. But then Seth takes on a little too much and transports himself. That experiment goes very wrong since a fly got into the pod with him and now their DNA is mixed up and Seth starts to transform.
The Fly was awesome, its classic status fully justified. The cast is excellent, the make-up and effects are pretty great and the story is cool. I was transfixed from beginning to end.
When you see a well-known film like The Fly at a rather late point in your (movie) life, chances are that the plot is no secret anymore which is why I know Rosebud’s identity (and that Rosebud is an issue in the first place) despite never having seen Citizen Kane. In some films that is a problem (ruined Sixth Sense for me in any case) but The Fly certainly isn’t one of them. The plot progresses logically and beautifully that it feels like even if you didn’t know it, you’d have guessed it – because it seems the only way things can go.
The make-up does a wonderful job mirroring that inexorable development, too. As Brundle become Brundlefly more and more, so do his looks become more outlandish and alien, but not unrecognizable (apart from the very last stage maybe, which was the most difficult and weakest, make-up-wise).
But the movie doesn’t rely on looks alone. Jeff Goldblum does an amazing job becoming more and more alien with his movement and his voice as well. Geena Davis provides a wonderful emotional center for the film – it is no problem at all to go along with any of the decisions she makes. Or almost: I thought that the abortion plot was very well handled generally, but her insistence that Seth has to know about the child in the first place was a little weird. If there’s no way you’re keeping it, there’s no point in telling him anyway. (Though even there I could understand why she’d want to.)
Cronenberg creates a tense atmosphere out of an almost RomCom-ish start which is a feat in and of itself and works surprisingly well for the film. Maybe because it’s all about becoming one with somebody else, only that it shows the darkness in that heavily romanticized concept. What’s not to love about that?