The FlyFeature Film | David Cronenberg By Adrienne McIlvaine
A horrific and heartfelt film about a science experiment gone terribly awry.
Decades after its release, director David Cronenberg's gruesome The Fly has lost none of its shocking power. A remake of the 1958 monster movie, this philosophical update, which was released just as AIDS was becoming a nationwide pandemic, is Cronenberg's idiosyncratic and gut-wrenching exploration of the psychological and physical effects of eccentric scientist Seth Brundle's genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. Jeff Goldblum's quirky tics and mannerisms perfectly capture the inexhaustible energy of the socially awkward, but brilliant, Brundle, and his post-teleportation personality is a skillfully balanced mix of clinical detachment and emotional freefall. His onscreen chemistry with real-life girlfriend (and future wife) Geena Davis lends the film an emotional depth that makes the inevitable ending even more tragic. Save for one excursion to a seedy bar and several scenes in a Brutalist publishing building, The Fly plays out in Brundle's isolated warehouse, adding to the terrifying loneliness permeating the movie. Goldblum's excruiating depiction of a man slowly losing himself is made possible by the grotesquely realistic special effects of Oscar winner Chris Walas, who employs makeup, foam prosthetics, and even fishing wire with devastating results. What ultimately lingers is not just Brundle's fate, but the memory of his brilliant beginning.