THE DAY OF THE LOCUST is a mighty strange film; I've never seen anything quite like it. Sure, the idea of the "Hollywood nightmare" is not unique to THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (just look at SUNSET BOULEVARD and MULHOLLAND DRIVE), but I've never seen this idea painted on such a large canvas, or with such frothing rage and disgust. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST is a furious film, a bit too furious for subtlety or to take itself with a sense of humor. As such, everything is Grotesque-with-a-capital-"G," with characters abandoned over to inhumanity, and it's given to us in a way that's Important-with-a-capital-"I." It's a film that plays everything it's got to the hilt, and I suspect it's a film to love or hate with the same fervor (glancing over reviews from its original release, that seems to adequately characterize the original response to the film).
I found THE DAY OF THE LOCUST fairly spellbinding, if admittedly uneven. It's crammed with arresting, unforgettable images of Hollywood decay, both small (a bizarrely androgynous child drawing lips on a window) and large (the spectacular collapse of a Waterloo set). Subtlety be damned, these images have teeth, in no part thanks to Conrad Hall's beautiful cinematography and Richard Macdonald's bold production design. The ensemble cast is very strong indeed, with a lot of wonderful faces (I'm always happy to see Burgess Meredith). But it's Donald Sutherland's Homer Simpson (yes, that's the name of his character) who wins the day; it's as strong a performance as Sutherland has ever given. And by the time we got to the film's climax, with Hollywood descended into the Inferno in an a sequence that's as terrifying as any I've seen, I was sold on this insane film.
Edited by Ryan H., 11 December 2011 - 10:11 AM.