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Ashley Judd stars as a lonely waitress in this study in fear and paranoia from director William Friedkin. Aggie lives a largely solitary life in Oklahoma, haunted by a sad past and hounded by her ex-con ex-husband (Harry Connick, Jr., WILL & GRACE). When a female friend and occasional lover introduces Aggie to Peter (Michael Shannon, WORLD TRADE CENTER), it seems she has found her match. The pair enters into a cautious romance, but their dark natures fuel more than just passion. Peter reveals that he was a victim of government experimentation that left blood-hungry aphids crawling under his skin, and the couple begins to obsess over the idea that they could be infected by the insects.
Based on Tracy Letts's play, BUG is an effective psychological thriller that gets under the audience's skin. Though the film never takes advantage of the freedom of the screen versus the confines of the stage, setting the action almost entirely within the walls of Aggie's hotel room evokes a claustrophobic feeling. Shannon deftly reprises his role from the stage play with a squirm-inducing mass of tics and twitches, but it's Judd who deserves the bulk of the praise. With her role as Aggie, she leaves behind roles such as the romantic comedy lead of SOMEONE LIKE YOU or the revenge-seeking heroine of DOUBLE JEOPARDY. Instead, she's alternately proud and insecure, fully immersing herself in the part of a woman unlike anyone she has played before. Though Friedkin helmed two of the most notable films of the 1970s with THE EXORCIST and THE FRENCH CONNECTION, he hasn't directed many critical successes since. But with its similarities to the moody work of Roman Polanski, this film could represent a return to form for the veteran director.
- for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug use.
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 21801
Lynn Collins, Harry Connick, Ashley Judd, Brian F. O'Byrne, Michael Shannon
"BUG builds momentum from Michael Grady's agitated camera movements and Ms. Judd's increasingly distressed face....Ms. Judd has never been more believable as a woman condemned to attract the wrong kind of man."
New York Times
"[Shannon] originated the role on the stage. And it's difficult to imagine anyone else playing the part, so authoritative is his access to every twitch of Peter's growing mania."
3 stars out of 4 -- "Friedkin's direction is fluid...and Judd's performance is her best since 1993's breakout with RUBY IN PARADISE."
3 stars out of 5 -- "[D]irector William Friedkin's unsettling film shares more than a pinch of THE EXORCIST's ability to get under the skin."
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