The Dead Zone: an unexpected tear-jerker

Plinky.com asked me what movie always makes me cry (or at least makes me emotional).

There are many I could mention, along with books and music. Mostly, these deal with subject matter of mortality, family, love and unresolved relationships. Similar themes emerge in my own novels, stories and songs.

I am also profoundly affected by mastery in any media – to hear Pavarotti sing, Stevie Ray play the guitar, Damien Hirst pickle a shark – such will find me moist-eyed at the wonder of it all.

Anything which puts me further in touch with myself, and with the human condition.

In that spirit, I chose what some may find an odd choice for this answer.

“The Dead Zone” appeals to me on all the levels above. It is a) a masterful David Cronenburg film, precisely plotted, paced and shot – beautiful; and b) based on one of Stephen King’s best novels, who just happens to be one of my favourite writers ever.

In plot terms, this jumps all over past, present and future – with a philosophical core of what one would do with precognition of the end of the world. John Smith, portrayed superbly by Christopher Walken, is torn between his own life – lost, unrequited love – and supernatural powers inherited while in a coma. This film captures the isolated, introspective nature of John Smith’s life and the quiet realization that he has only his destiny to face.

Truth be told, I’m welling up thinking of the film and especially its final scenes.

Beautiful.

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