Starring: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin
Genre: Thriller/ Comedy
Odd Thomas (Yelchin) not only has a slightly unusual name, he also has some unusual abilities: He can see and communicate with dead people, enabling him to help solve crimes with Police chief Wyatt Porter (Dafoe), but he also has an ability to see other worldly creatures (called Bodachs) that seem to be wherever death is about to happen. With this he can try to stop crimes before they happen, and when he sees a huge group of Bodachs surround a strange looking man enter the diner that he works at, he immediately knows that something very bad is going to happen. Now, with the help of girlfriend Stormy (Timlin) and Porter, Odd must test his abilities more than ever before to stop this apparent impending bloodshed.
Oh, the film industry is indeed a strange beast! We get some absolute tripe hogging the multiplexes and DVD charts, while good films that do not have a marketing budget do not get a look in. That is perhaps to be expected when it is a low budget art house film, but I found it a surprise when it is a film directed by Stephen Sommers with a $27million budget based on a bestselling series of books and starring big names Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe that does not get a theatrical release. What I found to be an even bigger surprise is that it is actually half decent.
Odd Thomas is an extremely fun and entertaining 95 minutes told at a frantic breakneck speed. It is pretty obvious the book goes into more detail (Odd often gets help from the ghost of Elvis in the books) and at times perhaps the film could benefit from doing so, but with everything being told at such a frantic pace there truly is never a dull moment while we follow our particularly odd protagonist. The plot is genuinely unpredictable and engaging, most definitely leaving its more unexpected twists till the very end. However, it is a bit of a silly stroy, and the tone of the film is perfect with the wisecracking script meaning everything is always told with a sense of humour and Sommer’s direction providing extra energy to the narrative.
In the very enjoyable Fright Night Anton Yelchin proved he can hold his own as a likeable leading man, and as Odd Thomas Yelchin once again gives us a protagonist to root for. Dafoe is on autopilot as it is not a challenging role in any way for him, but he is still a great screen presence. Plus, when an actor often stars in Lars Von Trier films, they can be forgiving for having a bit of fun in a less challenging role. As Odd’s girlfriend, Addison Timlin is not great, and their romance does verge on annoying at times when it detracts from the main plot, especially as their ‘banter’ gets repetitive at times.
Though no masterpiece, Sommer’s film is a genuinely pleasant surprise that is certainly better than a lot of the rubbish that can be found at the local cinema. Delivered with verve, energy and a great sense of humour, Odd Thomas is an extremely enjoyable watch. With six more books, I just hope this has a second life on DVD and they are willing fund the next one.