The quiet suffering of Walken's Johnny Smith (Stephen King always has fun with names) is established without melodrama. Waking up after five years in coma, he asks about his lover. His religious mother responds simply: "She left you for someone else, Johnny". There's a no-bullshit directness to how information is revealed. Which is germane to Cronenberg's filmmaking style that places a very high value on credibility.
Cold, doomy and still surprisingly apt on a political basis – at least, for a film made 30 years prior to the recent tidal surge of right wing views and inept, power-crazed loons taking office worldwide. It's also terribly overlooked as one of the darkest offerings in the King canon of film adaptations; Cronenberg really knows how to bring out the best of the source material, whilst retaining his own distinct style.
Excellent film fantastique mené de mains de maître par un génial metteur en scène d'origine canadienne dont les réalisations quelquefois irritantes, jamais décevantes, méritent une nouvelle approche. Il serait grand temps de projeter à nouveau une intégrale "David Cronenberg" dont les premières œuvres restent confidentielles... www.cinefiches.com
After the early body horror films culminating in 'Scanners' and 'Videodrome' this adaptation of the Stephen King novel heralded a move into the mainstream for Cronenberg and yielded rich rewards. Walken was perfectly cast as 'Johnny Smith' and by scaling back the horror element and concentrating on the personal cost to the character Cronenberg made a film to be remembered.
TV, re-rating. How i didn't see in this extraordinary film a metaphor for the power to create images and editing them according to fiction's variations? The visionary is the filmmaker who dies by the images (see René Vautier's "Mourir pour des Images") and through it elaborates an architecture of the world. Walken is the most vurnerable of the tormented ones that recent cinema has given us (also with Ferrara).
Cronenberg doesn’t mess around in The Dead Zone. Boam’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel starts off with despair, but shifts to pure evil as Johnny (Walken) wakes from a five year coma. At one point he describes a dream and gets asked “is that what you’re afraid of?”, “it’s what I want” he replies. The film takes some big leaps, but blends the horror into very high quality drama and is definitely a thrill to watch.
Profoundly appealing in a melodramatic way, the events of the narrative feel more like a series of random small fireworks leading up to a final larger firework, than akin to a grand finale, as the story often lacks a set path. Parts could be longer for anticipation/suspense reasons, too. However, it admirably has a feeling of suffocating dire ominousness, as one knows it won't end well for this well-meaning hero.
The plot is a bit all over the place but Walken is absolutely phenomenal and the ending is mind blowing and very clever. Cronenberg's is able to get the best out of the script and is also working with very good dialogue; it's very different from its horror stuff and maybe perhaps better in its drama. The winter setting and the music gives the whole a nice desperate vibe.