The Wicker Man (2006 film)

The Wicker Man (2006 film)
The Wicker Man

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Neil LaBute
Produced by Nicolas Cage
Avi Lerner
Screenplay by Neil Labute
Based on The Wicker Man by
Anthony Shaffer
Starring Nicolas Cage
Ellen Burstyn
Kate Beahan
Frances Conroy
Leelee Sobieski
Molly Parker
Diane Delano
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography Paul Sarossy
Editing by Joel Plotch
Studio Alcon Entertainment
Saturn Films
Equity Pictures
Millennium Films
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Sony Pictures (International)
Release date(s) September 1, 2006 (2006-09-01)
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $38,755,073

The Wicker Man is a 2006 American remake of the 1973 British film of the same title. It was written and directed by Neil LaBute, based on a screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, and stars Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn.

The film was poorly received by critics, and Robin Hardy, co-creator and director of the original British film, disassociated himself from it.



Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage), an American policeman, receives news from his ex-fiancée, Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan), that her daughter, Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), is missing. He gets a pilot (Matthew Walker) to take him to the island off the coast of Washington, U.S. where a group of neo-pagans live. The island is led by Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn), an elderly woman who is treated like a goddess. The economy of the island relies on the production of local honey, which Malus learns has been down recently.

Malus asks the villagers about Rowan, but they give him evasive answers. He later sees two men carrying a large bag that appears to be dripping blood, then he finds a fresh, unmarked grave in the churchyard. The grave turns out to only contain a burned doll, but Malus finds Rowan's sweater in the churchyard.

At the village school, teacher Sister Rose (Molly Parker) tries to prevent Malus from seeing the class register. When he sees that Rowan's name has been crossed out he becomes enraged at the teacher's and Rowan's classmates' lies. Rose demands Malus to talk outside and after a short discussion of the island people's view of death and, Rose explains that Rowan is "not missing". Malus askes how Rowan died and Rose tells him first that "she'll burn to death". When Malus catches the tense she uses, the "she'll", Rose corrects herself quickly and rushes herself back to her class.

On the day of the ritual, Malus frantically searches the village for Rowan. He attacks Sister Beech (Diane Delano), who has a bear costume for the ritual. Malus steals her costume and joins the parade led by Sister Summersisle.

The parade ends at the site of the festival. Rowan is tied to a large tree, about to be burned. Malus rescues Rowan and they run away through the woods, but Rowan leads him back to Sister Summersisle. Sister Summersisle thanks Rowan for her help, and Malus realizes that the search for Rowan was a trap. The villagers attack Malus and overpower him (in the "alternate ending" version, the scene is extended, showing the villagers as they break his legs and place a mask of bees on his head). The women carry him to a giant wicker man and shut him inside. Rowan sets fire to the wicker man and Malus is sacrificed. The crowd chants "The drone must die!", believing that Malus's sacrifice will restore their honey production.

The last scene is shown with Willow and Sister Honey (Leelee Sobieski) going into a bar and talking with two male police officers (James Franco and Jason Ritter). The women invite them to go home with them, presumably in hopes of luring them just as Malus was. Screaming from Edward Malus can be heard as the film fades into dark (both scenes are absent from the DVD release).



Reception and criticism

The original film's director, Robin Hardy, had expressed skepticism over the Hollywood remake, and had his lawyers make Warner Bros. remove his name from the remake's promotional material. According to Hardy, he was given writing credit for the screenplay, when he had not received any for the original.[1]

Christopher Lee, who played Lord Summerisle in the original film, said about the remake: "What do I think of it being played by a woman, when it was played by a man in 1972, as part of a Scottish pagan community, and now it's played by a woman with the same name? What do I think of it? Nothing. There's nothing to say."[2]

Upon release, the film received mainly negative reviews from film critics; the film holds a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] On At the Movies, the film received two thumbs down from Richard Roeper and Aisha Tyler.[4]

The film garnered five Razzie Award nominations, for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Cage), Worst Screenplay, Worst Remake, and Worst On-Screen Couple (Cage and his bearsuit).

However, a few film critics, such as Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, saw the film in a more positive light, with Gleiberman saying that director Neil LaBute brought some "innovation" over the original film. Robin Shelley is of the opinion that this is one of the best movies of 2006.[5]

Cage himself acknowledged that the movie was "absurd." He remarked in 2010: "There is a mischievous mind at work on The Wicker Man, you know? You know what I mean? And I finally kind of said, 'I might have known that the movie was meant to be absurd.' But saying that now after the fact is OK, but to say it before the fact is not, because you have to let the movie have its own life."[6]

Box office

As of November 16, 2006, the worldwide box office receipts totalled $32,259,395 with $23,649,127 of the receipts earned in North America[7] making it financially unsuccessful as its costs totalled $40,000,000.

Home media

A DVD was released on December 19, 2006, with an unrated alternate ending included. In the alternate ending, Malus is held down and his legs are broken at the knee. A wire mesh helmet is placed over his head and live bees are poured in. Malus shouts "Oh, no, not the bees! Not the bees!" After he passes out, the helmet is removed and he is revived with a shot of epinephrine. Throughout all this, he keeps asking how can he be a good sacrifice if he does not believe in their religion. The movie continues in the same way as the theatrical version except the credits begin after the wicker man's burning head falls off. The "6 months later" scene is missing.


External links

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