Jan 16, 2011
Michael Shannon is easily one of my favorite modern day actors. Like Steve Buscemi before him, Shannon is able to spice up an otherwise dull film with his natural ability at playing a variety of wack-job and psychopath characters. In the 2006 film Bug directed by William Friedkin, Michael Shannon once again flawlessly plays a deranged character named Peter who schizophrenically believes he is a victim of biological experiments orchestrated by the U.S. government. In Bug, Peter escapes from a mental hospital and eventually finds himself in the motel room of Agnes, an emotionally unstable woman whose child disappeared years ago. Impressed with Peter’s talent at properly using “big words” and the fact he is not an Ex-Con like her Ex-husband, Agnes starts a bizarre romantic relationship with Peter that revolves around keeping their hotel room bug-free. Like Agnes, the couple’s motel room transforms to compliment Peter’s fixation with destroying all bugs.
Despite the seemingly bizarre nature of their relationship, Peter and Agnes are not so different from most couples. After all, when a woman starts a new relationship with a guy, she soon begins to adopt the same interests as her man. Most women certainly would have no problem going from being a Neo-Nazi to a Wigger if she finds the appropriate Mr. Right to cause such an extreme transformation. In Bug, Peter just happens to be the perfect match for Agnes and she has no problem buying into her new man’s delusional obsession with bugs, even if her new boy toy likes to self-mutilate himself in hopes of ridding imaginary bugs from his emaciated body. Also like most women, Agnes gets rid of friends that do not approve of her new boyfriend just as easily as throwing out rancid garbage. After all, all great relationships involve a large dose of obsession and Peter has enough obsessive behavior to go around. As their relationship builds up, so do the anti-bug decorations that crowd the once depressing (but now blue metallic) looking apartment.
I have never really been fond of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist nor The French Connection, the two films that the overrated director has gained most of his cinematic notoriety from. Although nowhere near a perfect film, Bug is a film that is big on atmosphere, something that Friedkin’s most popular films lack. Despite the seemingly disturbing nature of Peter and Agnes’s relationship, Bug is a truly romantic film. The couple may end up climatically in flames but their relationship never fades away, a common tragedy that plagues even the greatest of couples. For fans of Michael Shannon, Bug is also a notable film as it one of few cinematic works that the underrated actor gets to flaunt his magical eccentricity as the protagonist as opposed to his typical role as supporting character actor. I know future Michael Shannon performances will be hard to beat when comparing his performance in Bug where after (unknowingly) sexually healing Agnes, he prances around her motel room naked whilst talking through his bug-psychosis. My son, my son, Michael Shannon what have ye done!
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 9:22 PM
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