Country and Year: USA (2006)
Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Lynn Collins, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Brian F. O’Byrne and Michael Shannon
Review by: Blake Ethridge
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars (good)
Tim League & Michael Shannon @ The Fantastic Fest “Bug” Screening
Listen to the very enlightening Q&A:
::: Actor Michael Shannon Q&A MP3 (right click and save)
Based on a play and screenplay by Tracy Letts, this William Friedkin film delivers an exceptional character driven head trip. “Bug” is a very minimalistic and cerebral yarn exploring themes of love and paranoia – Big Brother isn’t only watching, he’s doing everything in his power to control you and everyone else in society. Friedkin and Letts offer a cautionary tale of the illusion of perfect love. “Bug” slowly ratchets up the tension with each scene, as if Friedkin and the powerful balls to the wall acting performances have suddenly gotten you trapped at the top of the ferris wheel in an upturned cart that could fling you out at any given moment.
Michael Shannon (who is also great as Dave Karnes in “World Trade Center“) is at the driver’s wheel. It’s the best acting performance I’ve seen in 2006 and careens off all roads of sanity. Most performances I see by any type of actor/actress fall within a “safe space.” Imagine a imaginary box around someone. Now imagine the realms of sane that most stay within in playing a role. Actors and actresses can definitely jump off the deep in or spiral recklessly into a character but typically I rarely feel they leave this box. Michael Shannon in “Bug” takes this box and pours gasoline all over it and lights it on fire. He doesn’t care about playing it safe. He doesn’t care about any effect it may have on the real Michael Shannon. He goes hellbent into this performance as if he were going out with the biggest bang he could ever perform. It’s a performance for the ages in one of the grandest character driven films of this decade.