Due to a mail mishap, I will not be reviewing a Godard film today. Instead I want to talk about another auteur filmmaker, David Cronenberg. Much has been written on him and I am no expert, so I won’t try to put my foot in my mouth by getting academic. I think that he is an auteur because when you look at a film whether it be from the eighties, nineties or recently, you know it is from Cronenberg. I like Cronenberg because he is interested in the evolution and corruption of the human psyche. One of the best films to illustrate that is with his version of the Fly.
The Fly is about an eccentric scientist who comes up with a teleportation device. However he has problems teleporting live creatures and he can’t decide what to do until he finds a girlfriend who inspires him. They come up with a way to program the computer to recognize flesh. After achieving the effect, his girlfriend goes back to her ex-boyfriend in order to hash some things out. The scientist, a little upset about it and drunk, decides that he is going to teleport himself in order to prove his theory. Unfortunately a fly gets trapped in the teleportation system and his DNA is spliced with that of a fly. He slowly becomes a fly, getting more and more angry at every stage. He comes up with a way to become human again, but the catch is he needs another human. He traps his girlfriend who still has feelings for him even though he is becoming a mutant. He wants them to become truly one. He doesn’t realize what it would do for her to not truly exist anymore.
This film is hard to watch at times, which I feel is true with all of the Cronenberg films that I have seen.(Especially Naked Lunch… holy cow is that crazy hard to watch) The scientist when he is in the final stages of developing into a fly, he spits on things in order to eat them, he has these bumps all over his body and he pulls out his fingernails. All of these scenes are graphic, but you can’t help but admire the effects he employs in making this film. Nothing is CGI (mainly because the only thing that was CGI was the horrible film Tron at the time), but rather physical make-up and physical special effects. Let’s just say there is a lot of dry ice in this film. I love the look of this film, especially the teleportation pods. They are futuristic without seeming to be too out-of-place in the modern world. I also love when he becomes fused with the pod at the very end, he turns into this mutant fly pod creature that is absolutely horrifying. I know this is said a lot, but they just don’t make films like this anymore. You believe that everything is happening to Jeff Goldblum the way it does, because it is actually happening to him. Jeff Goldblum had to stand in make-up for five hours before he was able to do a scene. That is dedication. That is what makes this film interesting.