At one point in the Body Snatcher remake, The Invasion, Nicole Kidman
describes herself as a “post-modern feminist.” I had to stop and ask
myself what that meant exactly. I needn’t have wondered long because a few
minutes later she was standing in a post-apocolyptic drugstore, waving a
gun and shouting, “nobody touches my son.” She blows away half a dozen
body snatching alien zombie types, one of whom was her boyfriend. Well,
she only shot him in the leg, but at any rate that ended his gig as a
potential rescuer. Nicole Kidman’s post-modern feminist follows a long
line of single mom sci fi action heroes going back to Spielberg’s Close
Encounters of the Third Kind and winding up with the Sarah Connor
Chronicles. I guess being a post-modern feminist means you get to blow
people away instead of waiting for a man to do it for you.
Kidman, like Gene Tierney, is an absurdly beautiful actress whom I’ve
struggled to relate to in almost movie in which I’ve seen her (Eyes Wide
Shut, Moulin Rouge and Cold Mountain). I think I might finally like her in
The Invasion. It’s not just her ass-kicking, but the fact that
she actually convinces me that the thing she loves most in the world
is her son, who has come before her career and all of the other men in her
life. In a great scene her zombified ex-husband (Jeremy Northam) brings
her to task for this and then tries to kill her. Guess who makes it out of
that confrontation? I’ll give you a hint: righteous single moms who don’t
have sex with their boyfriends (even though they are Daniel Craig) are
basically unkillable in a horror movie. Have sex: die. Stay chaste: live.
It’s a simple formula and people have no business describing themselves as
either “post-modern” or “feminist,” let alone both, while in a movie that
subscribes to such nonsense.
I’ll admit that I totally watched this movie for Jeremy Northam. It was
hard because his character is the first one turned by the body snatchers.
He transforms into an alien and then mostly disappears. He’s like Typhoid
Mary only much handsomer. But he is really creepy, too. Northam adopts
that glazed tone of voice that he used so effectively in Cypher, but with
total menace behind his eyes. The scene in which he pins down Kidman and
tries to snag in her face to zombify her is the only moment in the history
of cinema in which the idea of being pinned down by Jeremy Northam is
unappealing. He is really quite scary which is more than just a little
conflicting for a Northam fangirl like myself. Yeah he was evil and insane
in The Net, but with his charm and the Notorious references, I would have
probably let him murder me. In The Invasion, I didn’t exactly cheer when
Nicole brained him with a blunt object, but I felt a bit relieved to end
the torment to my soul caused by the sensation of being repulsed by Jeremy
Thanks so much to Jenny for this guest blog post.
Jenny’s wonderful blog, Cinema OCD, contains reviews of classic movies and is very well worth a visit. JennyTheNipper is the author of three books about classic film stars published under the name “Jenny Curtis.” Jenny is equally well-known in the world of classic movie geekdom as “Nipper.” If you’ve ever seen Bringing Up Baby or The Awful Truth, you may remember “Jerry the Nipper” on which the nom de blog is an obvious pun.