MA15+ | 100 mins
This is my dream movie.
Eight people are stranded in a truck stop diner out in the middle of Anywhere's Guess. Car's in for repairs; TV, radio and phones are down; and something is coming.
A sweet, oblivious old lady stops in for a steak, and chats to the heavily pregnant waitress, Charlie, about her impending motherhood. The father ain't around no more, Charlie explains.
"I don't need a man tellin' me what to do."
"But," says Granny, "your baby's gonna burn."
The old lady's eyes blacken and her teeth turn sharp as knives. She lunges to attack, and the onlookers in the diner leap into action. The snarling thing is no longer human, and it manages to take a savage bite out of one man's neck before the others overpower and destroy it.
The terrified group are soon joined by another stranger: his name is Michael, and he knows what's coming. Michael (played by a dark and striking Paul Bettany) is a fallen angel who says that God has lost faith in humanity. The plague is coming, he warns - and the only hope for humankind is the unborn child growing inside Charlie.
This is a film for those who take religion with a grain of salt. The premise may upset some people's ideas about God (and the biblical symbolism is piled on thick), but essentially, this is a story about humanity. What struck me was the vastness of the themes, in contrast to the locality of the action. The entire film is set in and around the truck stop, and between gunfire, battle and special effects, each character is revealed in greater complexity. I loved the dialogue, which was fast, smooth and fun, with a comedic touch here and there.
Bob who runs the diner is thumping the TV set, trying to bring the picture back.
"One day that thing gonna hit you back," says Percy the fry cook.
"We've got a relationship," Bob says.
"There a word for that kinda relationship."
Sometimes the people are slightly caricatured (like the prim society wife who mops at a beer can before taking a sip), but their values ring true.
Most compelling is the extremely non-virginal Charlie, who speaks about almost choosing to abort her unplanned child. Her attitude to motherhood is a mix of dread, deep responsibility, and serene acceptance. The film as a whole can be viewed as an allegory for motherhood. All biblical references aside, this world is a dangerous place in which to raise a child.