David Cronenberg’s first foray into mainstream filmmaking is also one of his most satisfying pictures. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, the movie stars Christopher Walken as Johnny, a man who has been in a coma for five years and wakes up to find that he can tell a person’s fate just by touching them. Realising that he can change the future as well, Johnny soon intervenes in a number of would-be tragedies. Consequently, he soon becomes famous for his gift, but he longs for his former life, when he still had his job, his fiancee, and a normal life. However, when he shakes hands with a future president of the United States (Martin Sheen, in a wonderfully hammy performance) who could end up being the biggest mass murderer since Hitler, Johnny wrestles with what seems to be his destiny. Walken’s bravura performance forms the soul of this excellent and touching thriller.
David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father was a journalist, and his mother was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early age (he wrote and published eerie short stories, thus following his father’s path) and for music (playing classical guitar until he was 12), Cronenberg graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Literature after switching from the science department. He reached the cult status of horror-meister with the gore-filled, modern-vampire variations of Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), following an experimental apprenticeship in independent filmmaking and in Canadian television programs.
Cronenberg gained popularity with the head-exploding, telepathy-based Scanners (1981) after the release of the much underrated, controversial, and autobiographical The Brood (1979). Cronenberg become a sort… read more
It's too bad Christopher Walken isn't offered more leading roles, instead of being pigeonholed into quirky character acting. The Dead Zone reveals his presence on screen to be quite captivating and he's able to convey subtle emotions effectively.
Love the fact that Christopher Walken is reading the book Sleepy Hollow, movie where he play Hessian Horseman 15 years later, and that Martin Sheen is running for for President election, character he actually played in The West Wing.