Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Rapture

The Rapture(1991)

Latest IMDB Review by

by Bothan

85% of the time I have my mind made up about the movie that I am watching about 90 minutes into the film.

I saw Michael Tolken's `The Rapture' the day it opened in 1991 and I've seen it ten times since and I (like a lot of people) am nowhere near a concluding opinion.

I can't recall any movie that has brought me more discussion, debate or enraged argument. After all it is a movie about religion. Note that I said, this is `about religion', this is not a pious `religious film' that is set about by one fundamentalist idea and then closes the door.

The movie features one of the best, bravest performances I've ever seen. It is provided by Mimi Rogers as Sharon, a telephone operator who works in the new world of global communication – infinite communication with the minimum of personal interaction. Her nights are just as impersonal, she cruises cocktail lounges with her lover looking for partygoers to swing with. They have wild sex parties with very little personal interaction.

One day around the office water cooler she overhears coworkers discussing a strange dream about a floating white pearl. She also learns that those who have had the dream have huddled around a young black boy who is speaking about the end of the world.

Sharon throws off her swinger lifestyle (done in a scene where she gets out of bed and changes the sheets) and is born again. Years pass and she marries a former lover who also finds God and they have a child together. Now, for any other film this would be enough but Tolken is just getting started.

After a devastating event, Sharon thinks that she has received a sign from God telling her to go the desert and wait there. And she waits and she waits and she waits. Scorching under the hot sun Sharon and her daughter grow impatient. After several weeks, Sharon eventually tests God in an act so shocking that I wondered even up the last second, if Tolken would go through with it.

I won't say anymore but I will say that the movie goes all the way in its literal depiction of the rapture (Tolken is at the mercy of low budget special effects but we get the point). The ending of the movie is confounding. Not in a bad way but in a way that leaves people in a heated discussion. Many directors would have taken the easy way out and compromised with over-sentimentality.

After seeing the movie that first time in late 1991, I sat outside the theater and tried to figure out what I had just seen. I eventually chose `The Rapture' as the best film of 1991 because what I had realized was that I had seen a movie that didn't enrage, frustrate or challenge me like any other movie. Mission accomplished, Mr. Tolken.


Sourav Bhattacharya

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