Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews

Film Clips



Director:William Friedkin
Cast:Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr.
Release Date:2007
Genre:Drama, Suspense

Opens May 25th

By Ian Grey | Posted 5/23/2007

There's no rational way of negotiating with Bug, and you get the sense that director William Friedkin likes it that way. The perfect thriller for the era of truthiness, it tight-focuses on Agnes (Ashley Judd), a spiritually dissolute waitress, and Peter (Michael Shannon), a mild if odd war vet. The two hook up in a motel room that suggests Dante by way of Godot. Peter's interest in conspiracy theories explodes into a mounting obsession with defeating a "bug" contracted in a Middle East conflict. Agnes--haunted by a tragedy that, like everything else here, may or may not be real--is glad for the oblivion his madness offers: microscopes, aluminum-foiled walls, and sliced flesh play prominently in their mounting delusions. Written by Tracy Letts, on whose off-Broadway hit it's based, Bug is astringently minimalist in technique, occasionally unbearably gruesome, and eventually so over-the-top that you don't know whether to laugh or despair over the human condition, although both are apt. Shannon, best known as the creepy über-Christian in World Trade Center, brilliantly chews his way through Lett's hyperdelusional tirades, but it's Judd's balls-out portrayal of naked human neediness that sticks in your craw after the last tooth has been extracted (don't ask). There are no answers here, just a widening whole where souls should be and then blackness.

E-mail Ian Grey

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter