The Fly (1986)


After the (Y) machine took a festive break, the wheels are again starting to turn. To ring in the New Year, I’m going to be telling you about each of my ten favourite movies. it’s been harder than expected to elucidate my feelings on these films, usually “just watch the damn thing” is more effective than a series of ridiculous superlatives, but here goes. I hope you enjoy!

Another favourite movie helmed by another favourite director. Cronenberg’s explorations of the human condition, both in a metaphysical and psychical are what make him one of my favourite filmmakers. Here he explores the flesh, following the deteriorating condition of soon-to-be man-fly Seth Brundel.

The other factor that lends itself to my Cronenberg-love is his steadfast use of practical effects. Even his more recent films, though moving away from the body horror of his earlier years have utilised the same brutal effects and they are still unmatched by anything soullessly churned out by a computer.

This film is engrained in me, strangely enough as a childhood favourite. I’ve talked here and there about the influence my mother has had on my tastes and this is one of the films she showed me back in the day. Those very same effects I love prove to be troublesome to her now, she’s lost her stomach and can no longer watch the film. It’s the enduring power of a film that was made almost thirty years ago, practical effects are timeless, CGI is timestamped.

Brundle’s decent is a narrative situation that appeals to me more than the conventional heroic rise also. It’s more reflective of real life I think and it chimes with me more than archetypal “overcome the odds” type of story.

Brundle, a brilliant scientist has to watch as his body crumbles, committing these vile samples to almost of museum of himself, keeping his now obsolete teeth, fingernails, hair in jars in his medicine cabinet. Once his animal instincts come into play and the mental shackles that make man, man are broken, he knows he is beyond redemption and offers his life.

– Oliver Drew

Ollie sketch91


4 thoughts

  1. Good review Oliver. Maybe my favorite Cronenberg movie, which isn’t saying so much considering that this is probably his most ordinary, mainstream flick ever made. That said, it’s still very emotional, compelling and the performance from Goldblum is something that makes you wish he did more leading-roles.

    • I don’t know if I’d say “ordinary”, visceral perhaps I think is what sets it apart from his more heady fare. Yeah, he certainly shines in films like The Life Aquatic and Jurassic Park but he definitely should get more leads.

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