Damn religion, all the ills of the world fall on you!
Screenplay By: Anthony Shaffer
Directed By: Robin Hardy
The mystery/horror presented in The Wicker Man is more then enough to carry the film. You could sit down and watch The Wicker Man for its story alone and walk away satisfied with the experience. It isn’t the best detective story ever put to screen, it’s merely good enough and that’s okay. The Wicker Man isn’t all that scary, it is surreal and off putting, but I don’t see where most people would find it scary. The twist ending is brilliantly pulled off and ties the entire film together. All of the above is true, and if that is all you want out of The Wicker Man then you will get to watch a heck of a film. But, if you have an open mind and are able to honestly look at the topic of religion then The Wicker Man is a treasure of a film.
I am an atheist, but I’m not an belligerent atheist. I have no problem with faith, or people who believe in any god. They have a belief, and I don’t, there’s nothing wrong with that. I am against most religions and their idea of revisionist history. I am against the idea of missionaries converting people to a religion at any cost, because faith shouldn’t be about conversion through force or pestering, it should be about having a belief from within. What I love most about The Wicker Man is how hardly it hits the tenets of every religion ever known to man. Some made up Celtic religion and Christianity may be the main targets, but they are merely representatives of all religion. The Wicker Man uses a mystery/horror concept to ask what price is paid for religious zeal. Religion shouldn’t make you blind to the plights of others and place you in a bubble. The Wicker Man is a direct slap in the face of religious zealots everywhere, letting them see how crazy they are for placing themselves above other human beings just because of the religious denomination.
Yes, the above is all interpretation and one that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn isn’t shared by many. Either way it is an interpretation I hold to be true and for me it is the true strength of The Wicker Man. The twist ending is shocking and haunting in its sheer audacity, and what comes to pass before the twist is interesting and off putting at the same time. The Wicker Man story wise operates on a whodunit and surreal man in a foreign land level. It scores good marks in all areas, but I was more taken by its stance on religious zealotry.
The Wicker Man is a strong movie from start to finish with something powerful to say wrapped in odd trappings and conveyed in a rather shocking manner. But, The Wicker Man is a great film, make no mistake about it. You need an open mind to take in The Wicker Man, I wouldn’t be surprised if deeply religious people are offended by its subject matter. But, if you do possess an open mind and want to have a great time with a banger of a film, then The Wicker Man is a film you need to see.