Mike Noonan - Pierce Brosnan
Mattie - Melissa George
Sid Noonan - Matt Frewer
Sara Tidwell - Anika Noni Rose
Max Devore - William Schallert
Kyra Devore - Caitlin Carmichael
OTHER STEPHEN KING SHOWS
Salem's Lot '79
Salem's Lot '04
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Michael Noonan loses his wife in an accident, but is left with the distinct impression that she is still hanging around and communicating through a moose head on the wall and magnetic fridge magnets in the lakeside home he has retreated to in order to redraft a novel in a ridiculously short time. He meets a woman who is involved in a bitter custody battle with her father-in-law over her daughter and at the same time he is plagued by bad dreams and even hallucinations of attending a concert given by black songstress Sara Tidwell in 1939.
BAG OF BONES is not one of Stephen King's most celebrated works. A doorstop of a novel, it has a plethora of disparate ideas that never quite come together in anything as memorable as some of his other works. Our expectations, then, for this television version weren't high going in.
Sadly, those low expectations are hardly met. There is far too much going on here that has been done a good many times before. The Maine town is barely sketched in beyond the main protagonists and those protagonists don't get coloured in much. Pierce Brosnan manages to be watchable in the main role, providing some excellent moments of grief and fear amongst the soap-level scripting and unfocused plotting. It is down to him that the plodding pace doesn't lead to switching of channels.
There are also lots of big bang jumpy moments to try and hide the fact that not a lot of scariness is going on. The dreams that punctuate the opening half of the tale are obvious for what they are and so the rug-pulling fails to cause any surprises.
It has to be said that the paintings on the walls of the Noonan residence are pretty creepy though.Top
Noonan learns of a curse that has afflicted the town, making some of the men drown their daughters. His nemesis, Max Devore, suddenly gives up the custody fight and dies, and only then does Mike learn what happened to Sara Tidwell and her daughter in 1939.
After the languid meandering through the first half, this second half seems to realise that it has to tell the entire story and races through a series of events and infodumping. In fact, a whole new character is introduced for the sole purpose of explaining the plot to the main character.
Despite all this, the disparate aspects never gel into a cohesive story. Max Devore's exit from the scene makes his presence seem a bit pointless all along. Sara Tidwell's story, the origin and heart of the plot, is sidelined until the plot exposition kicks in. The whole soap opera nonsense about Noonan's wife's possible infidelity is simply abandoned mid-stream.
With all the plot shenanigans going on, the focus on Noonan's mental state is abandoned and since that was the first episode's main strength things go downhill. Twists kick in for the sake of having twists, rather than making sense, there not being enough time to build them up or explain them properly.
The last section of action moves at a gallop, trying to mask the fact that there is no satisfactory emotional payoff to the story at all.
BAG OF BONES was a disappointing book. This two-parter has lived down to its origins.Top
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