May 25, 2007 -- “Bug” is a stagey, talky movie that shares a couple of deadly weaknesses with some other movies based on plays. First, it looks like a play (most of the movie takes place in a motel room), not a movie. Second, it looks like some of the character development that might have been in the play got cut out of the movie. Things develop more quickly than they should in this screenplay, not that I wasn't glad to get out of the theater fast. This play, er, movie creeped me out.
Although I did not find the story convincing, I have to say the acting by Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon was outstanding. Even that old lunk, Harry Connick Jr., was great in this movie. This might be the best acting ever by these particular actors. Judd and Shannon play a couple of crazy, star-crossed, co-dependent lovers, Agnes White and Peter Evans, who spiral quickly (way too quickly) into madness. The movie has been hyped as exploring the boundaries of paranoia and reality, but this movie is all about paranoia and obsession, not much about reality. In a way, this reminded me of the madness of a character in the movie Mullholland Drive.
Agnes White (Judd, of “De-Lovely”) is a waitress with a tragic past living an unhappy life. Things change suddenly when a couple of men pop into her life. Her abusive husband, Jerry Goss (Harry Connick Jr. of “Basic”) is released from prison and shows up in her run-down motel room in Oklahoma. About the same time, Peter Evans (Michael Shannon of “World Trade Center”) shows up at her place. She is strangely attracted to this odd man. He moves in with her. It soon becomes obvious that Peter Evans is a lunatic. His craziness starts to rub off on Agnes White, who eventually finds comfort in Peter's crazy conspiracy theories. She, like Peter, likes being able to blame all her past mistakes on a vast government conspiracy. At first, it looks like the possessive and abusive Jerry Goss is the biggest threat to Agnes. Gradually, it becomes clear that Peter is the bigger threat. It turns out Jerry is the more “normal” one.
Peter and Agnes quickly spiral out of control into a crazy, delusional world ruled by blood-sucking, mind-controlling aphids. Things just keep getting weirder and weirder as the movie rolls on. By the end, I was literally squirming in my seat and checking my watch every five minutes. I was glad when it was over. This is a very creepy movie, and no fun to watch. It is funny in places, but it is a very creepy kind of humor, the kind I could easily do without. It also stars Lynn Collins of “The Lake House” as Agnes' lesbian friend, R.C. and Brian F. O'Byrne of “The New World” as the psychiatrist, Dr. Sweet. That concludes the list of actors in the film with speaking roles. So few actors, so few sets. It's like a claustrophobic play. This film rates a C.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.