Strong cast and their naturalistic approach - along with the unique visual style that brings to life every street corner, apartment or office - are mashed up with deconstruction of everyday routine, dystopian paranoia and body horror. Thanks to the aforementioned, it's bearable to sit through the tiresome final act. Or sleepiness was intentional as a parallel for the motifs of the movie? Unusual and interesting film.
Excellent paranoia riff by Kaufman with an assured use of naturalistic detail to cover the plot hysterics. As with many 1970s films there is a great sense of flowing choreography with neat editing of scene bridges, sound cues and fluid camerawork. In lesser hands this could have been a derivative hack job; instead an intelligent audience pleaser with themes of conspiracy and (if not too fanciful) national meltdown.
Don Seigel's classic being one of the ancestors of the New Hollywood, Kaufman's version isn't timely as much as it is opportunistic. Less subtle than a 50s B-movie or a film by Abel Ferrara, it offers no meaningful update beyond directing that tries too hard to captivate. Like a sequel to Tron made in 2010; it's so obvious, it's useless.
A remake of 1956 movie of the same name. If the 1956 version is a sci-fi thriller, then this movie is a sci-fi horror. In my opinion, it's more horror than sci-fi. Although this movie has the same basic storyline, this movie has some different way to tell its story. Like the previous one - it's haunting, thrilling, plus it has an eerie music score. It also has a paranoid feel. Maybe, it's one of the best remake...
One of the troubling aspects of Kaufman's approach is the vantage he allows the non-human organisms; the opening, the phone booth, the positively alien score beeping and whirring, all work to suggest that his sympathies are somewhere between his characters and their environment. And why not? The humans flee, but without any reasoned resistance. The fear might be uniformity, but nature makes a compelling argument.
A lot of films from around this time try to capture the paranoia and cynicism of the post-Watergate 70s, but it took an update of a sci-fi McCarthyism parable to really pull it off. Both a product of its time and completely timeless in portraying the fear that those closest to us aren't who they say they are. And oh, don't fall asleep - those who dream are bound to get screwed. Absolutely brilliant.
Worry leads to fear; fear leads to anxiety; anxiety leads to paranoia. The escalations & transitions are fluid. Difficult to say what is real & what's not? However, aren't we used to live in an atmosphere of worry? Environmental desaster, terror, kidnapping, suicide bombers, madmen, cult fanatics...& why not the arrival of the evil from another planet? This movie masterfully captures these escalations & transitions.