Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 

The Mist

Rhymes with "I'm Pissed."

Why take an excellent short novel, one with some excellent characterization and a compelling storyline, then tack on a completely superfluous ending that has nothing to do with any of the above?

The movie did a great job of conveying the fear and claustrophobia of the novel,right up until the last 3 minutes, when writer/director Frank Darabont stole an ending from a bad episode of The Twilight Zone.

I'm not going to spoil the ending here, but for any of you that have read the story, think of the most trite, implausible, hackneyed and manipulative ending you could come up with to tack on the end of that story,and you'll know exactly what to expect.

Spoilers below the fold OK, so the movie ends with Daddy killing Sonny,and the other passengers, then getting out of the truck to be eaten by the monsters in the mist, only to find that the mist is rolling back, the Army is burning everything up, and saving the day. If only he'd waited another 45 seconds.

Oh the anguish, the pain, the mental torture!

Oh crap!

With screenwriting like this, I can't wait for the strike to halt movie productions as well as TV.

The ending of King's story had them driving off in the truck headed for Portland, because David may or may not have heard that word on the radio through all the static. Like all of King's better works, The Mist functions as an allegory to real life. In our daily lives we are all moving through the mist of the unknown. We fight to protect those we love from the monsters hiding in the unknown. And the only thing that keeps us fighting is hope.

Okay, a bit hokey, but an effective story. Now Hollywood is too simple minded for an ambiguous ending, so they figured they had to tack on some sort of definitive ending for the movie. They could have gone a couple of different ways and been faithful to King's story. David could have killed the other folks in the car, then vanished into the mist. Or they could have driven out of the mist and joined a long convoy headed south with the mist constantly at their backs. Either way would work.

I'd have even accepted it if the soldiers had blown David away after looking in the truck and seeing what had happened, another mercy killing. But Darabont tried to be shocking instead,and totally blew the meaning of the story. And it's a damn shame because with just a little creativity, he could have had his shock ending,and still remained faithful to the story. How?

Come with me to the version of "The Mist" that Darabont wasn't bright enough to write.

Our movie opens in a ratty looking bathroom,obviously in a public place, like a grocery store or a Walmart. We pan to a stall, come over the top of the door to see DAVID DRAYTON, disheveled and despairing,weeping silently. He's holding a revolver in his left hand and sitting on the toilet, fully clothes. He's not there to go to the bathroom. Hold on him for amoment then

CUT

Opening scenes of Darabont's movie, up to the arrival of the mist in the grocery store.

CUT

Back to Drayton, weeping on the toilet. Closeup on his face. Unbearable pain and suffering are written there, but we can tell he's the same age as the character in Darabont's movie. He whispers the name "Champ" and we

CUT

Back to Darabont's movie up to the "biggest best promise" then

CUT

Back to Drayton on the toilet. He puts the gun to his temple,and tries to squeeze the trigger, but his hand is shaking too badly,and he drops his arm hopelessly. We go very close on his eyes and

CUT

To Darabont's movie up to the 4 shots then

QUICK CUT to the bathroom where David jerks in reaction to the four shots then

CUT back to the bathroom,where DAVID abruptly places the barrel of the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. We slowly pull back to see that the restroom is in fact in the grocery store where they were trapped,and that clean up crews are repairing the store, and rush to the bathroom on hearing the shot. This sequence is intercut with the reveal form Darabont's movie.

The END

A much better movie. Why? Because with Darabont's ending, the story is no longer about how hard David fought to rescue his son; it becomes about what could drive a man who fights so hard for survival to take his own life. It maintains King's subtext while adding the director's vision as well,and gives the movie an unexpected ending to boot.

Thank you, you can send my OSCAR to my summer home.

In Maine.
Posted by Rich
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