The Invasion is a thought provoking, intelligent, gripping drama which boasts some excellent performances from a cast headed by Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright who co-starred with Craig in Casino Royale.
The film starts with a snippet of a scene which actually takes place about 4/5 of the way through the movie before showing us the burn up of a US space shuttle on reentry. The shuttle debris is found to be habouring some form of alien virus which slowly takes over humans by rewriting their DNA.
When a patient of psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Kidman) reports her husband is behaving oddly the initially dismissive Bennell eventually discovers thousands of similar online reports.
Investigating further with the aid of colleagues Ben Driscoll (Craig) Stephen Galeano (Wright) the trio discover that those reported to be ‘changed’ are hosting an alien infection which is being used to mount a covert invasion of the Earth. If some of this sounds familiar the film is at least in part based on the book The Body Snatchers and started life as a remake of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers film.
The alien ‘virus’ takes hold when the infected human sleeps, a plot device which brings some much needed tension to the film when Kidman’s character becomes infected and must struggle to stay awake.
As the invasion takes hold the police and army are deployed to enforceably convert those who have so far managed to avoid contamination.
Whilst Galeano tries to find an antidote Carol is on a mission to find her son Oliver who, as luck and convenient plotting would have it, is immune to the infection thanks to a previous illness. Of course the aliens can’t allow any of the immune humans to survive and so the film becomes a race to find the child while much of the scientific work takes place offscreen.
It’s this race which provides the film with its few stunts as Craig’s and Kidman’s characters race across Washington in a series of motor vehicles displaying some amazing and unlikely driving skills.
Most of the plot fits logically together even if it does rely on a bit too much coincidence, for example not only is Carol’s son immune from the alien infection but his father is the head infectee.
Amazing coincidences aside the only duff scene of the film comes when Carol gives her son a lesson in how to administer a concoction of sleep busting drugs in case she succumbs to her growing tiredness without any explanation of why she doesn’t just administer the drugs there and then.
When the moment inevitably comes for Oliver to administer the drugs it completely lacks any tension or sense of drama. With so much of the film successfully creating a real sense of tension and fear as the dwindling numbers of uninfected humans try to pass themselves off as fellow infectees this scene felt especially weak.
As previously mentioned the main cast turn in some great performances, especially Kidman who is immensely watchable and carries the film with great success whilst Craig manages to avoid inviting the audience to think ‘James Bond; whenever he appears in a scene.
Well worth a trip to the local multiplex for.