I went to a friend’s place on Saturday night. He cooked up a big roast then we sat down to one of those old-fashioned family dinners, where everyone is laughing and talking and passing the gravy.
Then we played cards. It had been 23 years between hands for me, but it all came back quickly.
Finally we watched the M Night Shyamalan movie The Happening.
Wow. If ever there’s been a mistitled film it’s that one. This was because, over the 91 minute running time, basically nothing happened; and it built to a climax … where … nothing happened.
Mark Wahlberg and the very hot Zooey Deschanel starred as a young married couple who go on the run after people in New York, and then all over the north-east US, start killing themselves.
It turns out – as near as I can gather – that the trees, pissed off because all the bees have disappeared, start excreting a neurotoxin that flips a switch inside people’s brains: specifically the switch that says “don’t kill yourself”.
A few select people do try to do the Moon Walk before they die, but for the most part people just stand stock still, then choose the nearest useful means of self-disposal.
So we get to see people committing suicide in weird and wonderful ways. At the start of the film a construction crew is amazed when a bloke throws himself off an unfinished building. Then another. So the construction worker looks up and there’s a queue of people all walking off the top of the building.
At which point I couldn’t help myself: I broke into a chorus of “It’s raining men”.
And it was too soon for the dying people to be disillusioned audience members. Really, you don’t feel like killing yourself till near the end of the film.
The trees, incidentally, were only sending out a warning, and stopped killing people after about 24 hours. And, mysteriously, they seemed to keep their killing spree inside state and international borders. Which was bloody considerate.
So all was good. Till the end of the film, when the French trees get pissed off and start killing people. Imagine being persuaded to kill yourself by a French tree. I thought that’s what French cinema was for.