Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 2 May 2011
I have no idea what this movie is about. Usually I'm able to unravel weird, symbolic, bizarre movies, or at least vaguely comprehend what's going on.
But with "The Visitor," I don't have a clue. It's like somebody threw "Rosemary's Baby," "The Omen," "Star Wars" and other successful movies of the 1970s into a blender, and splattered the resulting mush all over a surrealist painting. It's a rich, atmospheric tapestry of derivative lunacy, so insane that it's actually funny.
It begins with John Huston doing his best Ben Kenobi impression in a desert, facing off against a cloaked figure. Then it snows. Then we see some blonde guy (who is... Jesus Christ?) telling a bunch of bald children about Zatin, a shapeshifting alien criminal "muTANTE" with occult powers who was hunted down by an army of trained birds. I can't make up stuff this cracky, folks.
Apparently the main focus of this story is Katie Collins (Paige Connor), a creepy little devil-child who makes basketballs explode. Raymond Armstead (Lance Henriksen) wants to marry her mom Barbara (Joanne Nail), apparently because she alone "carries the genes of Zatin."
However, John Huston wants to save the world from devil-brats. So when the forces of evil arrange for Barbara to be shot and later impregnated, John Huston and his army of Jesus-following bald children must save the world from her, by convincing her to join the side of good (over a game of Pong).
Make no mistake: "The Visitor" is a really bad movie. But it's not Uwe Boll-bad, where every shot and line screams of ineptitude.There is just so much insane, illogical stuff going on in "Visitor" that eventually you get numb to it and think, "A killer toy bird. Why not? Jesus Christ versus aliens mutants. Makes sense! The scion of evil causing mayhem at the skating rink. Whatever!"
And unlike Boll's work, it's beautifully filmed and very evocative, with some very creepy scenes sprinkled throughout the story. The problem is that not a single beautifully-filmed scene in the whole thing makes sense or is adequately explained.
Eventually you just slide into a sort of accepting stupor and have an out-of-body experience, andf you are foolish enough to try to THINK about any of the ridiculous stuff you're watching, your brain will combust. Even the soundtrack is hilariously illogical -- we get epic, dramatic 70s music at the weirdest times. She's doing EVIL gymnastics in a RED leotard! Surgeons are putting on MASKS! Someone's pouring a DRINK! Huston is walking up STAIRS! And looking at a ROOF!
As for the acting, most of the actors look completely befuddled about what they're doing. Huston twinkles genially like a sort of New Age Gandalf, despite the fact that he was clearly filmed apart from the other actors. Connor is actually rather good as Child Of Evil Katie, even though the role doesn't require much.
Henrikson tries his best but makes little impression, and Nail is so creepily plastic that it's hard to connect with her unlucky character. And Italian actor Franco Nero is rather good as, uh, Jesus -- but his performance is constantly undercut by the question of what he's doing there!
"The Visitor" is a movie of beautiful, polished insanity. Instead of taking recreational drugs, I advise you to watch this movie -- it has the same effect, but without the harmful side-effects.