Rating 3

Directed by William Friedkin

Written by Tracy Letts, based on his stage play

Starring Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Lynn Collins, Harry Connick Jr and Brian F O’Byrne

Agnes White (Ashley Judd) lives in a dilapidated motel room and works as a waitress at a near-by lesbian bar. She is being menaced by her abusive former boyfriend/husband Jerry Goss (Harry Connick Jr), who has been released on early parole from jail. Then she meets Peter Evans (Michael Shannon), a drifter who believes he is infested with bugs, and she is sucked into his weird world of deranged conspiracy theories.


‘Bug’ is one of those films that deal with the strange “living on the edge of madness” netherworld that is a part of the American experience. Largely set in the motel room and with a small cast, it slowly creates a claustrophobic ambience. It was intriguing enough, imagine a Tennessee Williams play directed by David Cronenberg, although it went completely barmy towards the end and I suspect it wanted to be taken more seriously than perhaps we should. Undoubtedly, this is a film intended to generate discussion and debate about its meaning, but I am not entirely convinced it deserves or needs too much thought.

The performances are good, if a little overwrought towards the end. The director William Friedkin is best known for two celebrated early 1970s films, ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist’.

‘Bug’ has a 59% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 124 reviews. The film grossed a little over $8 million at the box office worldwide.

Review posted 30 March 2009


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