Volume 95, Issue 66

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

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New age art show casts Shadow of doubt

Enjoy, cause the Mothman might be watching

Outside the Box

S Club rejects offer rap-rock relief

Enjoy, cause the Mothman might be watching

The Mothman Prophecies

Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing

Directed By:Mark Pellington

Three 1/2 stars (out of five)

By David Hudakoc
Gazette Staff

Legend has it that prior to many of the world's greatest disasters, a dark and mysterious figure has appeared weeks and sometimes years before the tragedy occurs, warning of the events about to transpire.

Sightings of a huge black creature with wings and glowing red eyes were reported just before many recent disasters, as well as those from the past. "The Mothman," as he has come to be known, has reportedly saved certain lives, while watching others die mercilessly.

Encounters with this Mothman were reported prior to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1986 and the 1926 collapse of the Xion Te Dam in China. Along the Ohio River, there were over 100 sightings of the Mothman weeks and even years prior to the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

The legend of the Mothman was recently told in John Keel's novel, The Mothman Prophecies, which has now come to life in the film version based on the events of the Silver Bridge disaster.

In the film, Richard Gere plays John Klein, a well-respected Washington Post reporter whose life is turned upside down by the sudden death of his wife, Mary (Debra Messing).

On a business trip to Richmond, Virginia, Klein mysteriously becomes lost and finds himself miles away in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It is here that Klein begins to discover the same "Mothman" phenomenon that surrounded the death of his wife is also occurring in Point Pleasant.

Gere's performance as John Klein is solid, as he is able to bring out the complexity and frustrations of his character. However, his performance still lacks the overall quality that could break him free of his usual romantic comedy typecast.

Notable performances by Will Patton (Armageddon, Remember the Titans) and Laura Linney (The Truman Show) create some much-needed suspense.

Surprisingly, though, it is Debra Messing, known best as Grace from television's Will and Grace, that shines the brightest. Despite having only a small role, she makes the seamless transition from sitcom to dramatic film without difficulty.

Adding to these performances is the quick-cutting cinematography of director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road) that creates the fear and suspense needed to keep the audience riveted.

Yet, even with a great plot and some very eerie scenes, The Mothman Prophecies is missing that special something to make it a great film. The moments of tension are high during the film, but they come and go. Constant tension is the missing element that could have made this film more thrilling and would have left the audience better satisfied.

The Mothman Prophecies will undoubtedly spread the legend of the Mothman, but it will also leave audiences wondering if someone is watching their every move.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001