Tuesday, October 25, 2011
"The Dead Zone" 1983
Another excellent adaptation of a Stephen King novel. It stars Christopher Walken before he became an unfortunate parody of himself. He plays Johnny Smith, a high school English teacher who is madly in love with his girlfriend and generally happy with his life. Then one night he is driving home in a rain storm and loses five years in a coma.
Johnny Smith: It reminds me of a line from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" the last story I read to my class before... the accident. Ichabod Crane disappears... the line goes: "As he was a bachelor, and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled their head about him anymore."
Sarah Bracknell: Is that what you feel?
Johnny Smith: Is what I want... what I want.
His girlfriend, Sarah played by Brook Adams, drifts back into his life. She is committed to her marriage and her child, but needs closure from Johnny. They come together for an afternoon and she moves on.
Johnny Smith: What about my question?
Dr. Sam Weizak: Huh? Huh? Oh, you mean the one about Hitler?
Johnny Smith: What would you do?
Dr. Sam Weizak: I don't like this, John. What are you getting at?
Johnny Smith: What would you do? Would you kill him?
Dr. Sam Weizak: All right. All right. I'll give you an answer. I'm a man of medicine. I'm expected to save lives and ease suffering. I love people. Therefore, I would have no choice but to kill the son of a bitch.
Johnny Smith: You'd never get away alive.
Dr. Sam Weizak: It doesn't matter. I would kill him.
So Johnny has a mission. He has to kill Stillson.
It is interesting seeing this from the potential assassins point of view. Martin Sheen plays Stillson as a little oily, which is in keeping with the character. He used to sell bibles door to door. It makes you really wonder why he wants to be president.
Johnny has deteriorated while working toward the goal of taking Stillson down. He makes his way onto the balcony overlooking the scene. Stillson takes the stage.
Moments later he dies in Sarah’s arms.
Johnny Smith: Goodbye.
Sarah Bracknell: I love you.
It is a good adaptation. It follow a lot of the main points of the book. There are some changes. The kid he saved from the thin ice was a teenager going to an ill-fated prom. Not Carrie’s prom!
King must have had a bad prom experience.
But no one is going to mix up Christopher Walken and Anthony Michael Hall.