Movie Title: It Comes at Night
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
The film opens with a disheveled and battered looking man talking to his daughter who is wearing a respirator. He is dying. They put him in a wheel barrel, roll him outside, and shoot him before burning the body. It Comes at Night is set during the time of a new plague, one that seems to rival the Bubonic plague. Over a four year period from 1347 to 1351 between 30% and 50% of Europe’s population perished. This is further driven home by displaying one of my favorite paintings, The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, in the home. During Bruegel’s life war and disease ravaged Europe. These themes set the tone for the movie.
Life is far from idyllic, but it is relatively calm until a man breaks into the home. Out of fear, the man is assaulted and tied to a tree outside to see if he proves to be a carrier of the disease. The man is interrogated and ultimately his family comes to live with that of Paul and Sarah played by Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo respectively.
The movie has a very slow pace and its hour and thirty minute running time crawls by. Even though the movie often lacks for action, drama is built in many ways over the course of the movie. Having played a considerable amount of the video game Fallout 4, life in Paul and Sarah’s home struck me as what life might be like in a Fallout settlement. Life is pretty mundane. They cut wood. They cook meals. They pump water. But, there is a lurking terror and suspicion at all times.
Part of this movie is a coming of age story for Paul and Sarah’s son Travis played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. He is forced to witness terrible events and subjected to a lot of personal pain that he is expected to absorb because of the turbulent times in which he lives. He suffers from a lot of symptoms of PTSD and believes he has visions of death hunting him.
The movie also has a message that is pertinent in the age of building walls, which the movie favors. By trusting the strangers, Paul and Sarah open up their closed off family to pain. The outsiders can never be trusted and that point is driven home again and again. Not sticking to isolation and nativism can lead to a terrible cost and an uncertain future.
It Comes at Night is not an action movie or a horror movie. It is a drama set in troubling times. It has some interesting images and themes. If you go in with the right expectations it is an enjoyable experience. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Atomic Blonde (2017)
The sun came out this morning! I walked today for 30 minutes and got in my customary, at this point, 1.5 miles. Tomorrow, will be a running / walking day.