Sunday, 20 January 2013

Film Review: Struck By Lightning (2012)

I'm very easy to please when it comes to films. If the film is well written, transits smoothly and makes me feel something that doesn't relate to boredom or annoyance due to the lack of dimension to the story, I am happy. With most critics, there are a lot more boxes to tick. But I'm not a critic as such. Not professionally at least. Either way, Struck By Lightning was one of those films that simply ticks all the boxes for me.

Struck By Lightning tells the story of Carson Phillips, a high school student who is killed by a bolt of lightning at the beginning of the film. From there the film takes us back to Carson's last year of high school when he blackmailed the school to submit pieces of writing for a literary magazine that would better his chances of getting into the university of his dreams, Northwestern, and escape the clutches of his hometown, Clover.

Now before I watch a movie I more often than not read the book first if it is based on one, and it isn't very often I find a film that I don't snort at when I read "based on the book by..." in the credits. I'll admit, since Chris Colfer both wrote the book and was the lead star in the film, it was probably difficult for the directors and producers to stray from the original story. Needless to say, I liked that. I don't know if anyone read The Saga Of Darren Shan books or watched the unfaithful adaptation of the first three books, The Vampire's Assistant (they chopped and changed so much of it that it ended up only just touching the books), but I could have ranted on for hours concerning it. If you're going to make a film based on a story that's already been written, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would appreciate it actually relating to the book. The only movie I have found to be better than the book is The Woman In Black, so go figure.

I like the way that the main character, Carson, is realistic in the sense that he is a normal school pupil, yet at the same time he is exaggerated so that various groups of people can relate to him. He's highly ambitious, an outcast at school, his parents are divorced and don't get on, he has to put up with his alcoholic and highly medicated mother, and his grandmother has Alzheimer's. I think Carson is a character that some people wish they could be more like in the way that he doesn't apologize for the way he is and is very open about what he thinks of people. He doesn't let people walk all over him, no matter how much they dislike him. However his attitude makes it difficult for the other characters - and perhaps even the audience - to like him.

Although the film includes the usual cliche high school groups like all other high school movies, what this one includes that others don't is the recurring idea that most people want to spread their wings and move away from home, but only a mere few feel able to. Some can't move away due to responsibilities at home. Some are too scared to in case they fall. And others choose partners over reaching their full potential in life. Carson is the only one determined to move away, frustrated at the way he expected to conform to the ways of everybody else, and since no one will help him he turns to blackmail to get to where he wants to be.

To conclude, Struck By Lightning was a film that made me laugh, cry, and reflect on what I'm doing with my life. If we want to get somewhere, we have to be dedicated and work for it. We can't rely on wishing on stars and praying to get what we want out of life; we're more likely to be struck by lightning.

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