I’ve got my eye on you, Frank Darabont. After unsheathing that flaming terd of racism known as The Green Mile, I’d think you’d be on your best behavior for fear of bringing the wrath of Al Sharpton’s pressed hair down upon you. So imagine my surprise upon seeing The Mist.
Let’s set the stage: one night, a big storm hits a tiny Maine town. The next morning, a mysterious fog bank comes rolling down the mountains toward said town. As 40 or so shoppers — including our hero David (Thomas Jane), his whiny-ass son Billy (Nathan Gamble), our heroine Amanda (Laurie Holden) and yes, “the black guy,” Brent (Andre “Shouldn’t I Be Above This” Braugher) — stock up on goods at the local grocery store, a man comes running inside screaming that there are “things” in the mist.
*Minor Spoiler Alert* (Don’t worry; I won’t give away the ending.) Initially, only one person dares to leave, and we’re not sure whether she lives or dies. Later, David and a couple of others see what looks like a shitty, computer-generated tentacle reach out from the mist, but when they warn the others, Brent steps into his role as the “illogical voice of reason,” refusing to even go back into the store room to look at the hard evidence supporting David’s claim (like, a chunk of tentacle). Brent gets all Sam Jackson high and mighty and declares that “his people” — by now, the group had begun to split into factions — have decided to leave. As I looked behind him at “his people,” I couldn’t help but notice that they included half of the black people in the store. At this point, several folks in the theater laughed out loud. Do I need to explain the fate of Brent and his people?
There are actually two more black characters of note in the movie — both soldiers from the nearby military base that may or may not have something to do with the mist — and guess what? They both die, one quite gruesomely. I would say that this all tarnishes an otherwise good movie, but actually, it’s not all that great. The whole breakdown of society within the store is an interesting study on human character, but everyone — including our heroes — is just so unlikable. Plus, the computer effects are jarringly mediocre, and although I’m not a particularly religious man, I could see how some people could read an anti-religion angle in the script. All in all, it’s a pretty hateful film whose nihilism resounds perhaps most sharply in the twist ending.
So, Mr. Darabont, It’s nice that you would think to include black people in a movie that takes place in rural Maine (Realistic? Who knows.), but you’ve shown that you can’t handle the culturally sensitive responsibilities that entails. As such, you are hereby forbidden from placing any more of Andre Braugher’s “people” in your films…At least, until you’ve made some sort of reparation — say, the $11.50 that I paid for The Mist?