Oh thank the flippin' celestial beings this film wasn't a complete and utter failing of cinema.
I have no issue saying The Wicker Man is a great if not even excellent movie, and I knew it was going to be in less than 10 minutes into the film. All of my complaints with the atrocity that is the remake have been remedied and made great, every aspect of the filmmaking process must be applauded. It's a very 1970s looking film in terms of production, but the editing, cinematography, and overall look of this film is a feast to the eyes. It is gorgeous at times and knows exactly how to build the proper atmosphere and mood. The music also was a surprising but regardless highly entertaining aspect of the film, to the point where one could argue it's a musical but it's just so nice to listen to you don't even mind, it honestly reminded me of more slow folk songs like Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel. I feel the less I say about plot the better, however for a brief synopsis, a police officer is called by an anonymous letter to investigate the disappearance of a child on a remote island and the subsequent investigation of what follows. And boy howdy did the mystery aspect actually work this time, mainly because no one is clearly a shifty eyed suspicious batshit crazy cultist, but I digress. I was genuinely interested to see such a clashing of ideologies, because our policeman Seargant Howie is a very faithful Christian and has endless problems trying to get over the fact that all the inhabitants on Summerisle believe in Pagan rituals and the old gods, it's handled well and while it is a product of a more closed minded time you must know that during such a time period this sort of thing was greatly unheard of. In a predominantly Christian world, Paganism was just too out there to comprehend and rarely seen but the film doesn't pick sides and just shows one ideology against another. Yeah, there's some stuff in the movie even I was slightly confused at but really when you get right down to it all religions are a bit crazy so I greatly appreciate that it's not deviant or sacrilege with these Pagan customs but just another way of life. Which is expertly personified by Lord Summerisle played by Christopher Lee who has went on record to say this was his most favorite role to the point where he worked for free and even pitched in money just to see it get made. Such dedication is not found nowadays. Edward Woodward is a very fine lead, who has intelligence and manners but still has limits and is simply trying to be a good police officer. You get a great feeling of this town and community, not so much in geography but the spirit of the place, it was shot entirely in Scotland and it looks spectacular. Several shots are worth having framed, there is such a precise and dedicated craftsmanship to these shots, they knew exactly how to shoot this movie and what they wanted to achieve with it. It does warrant the R rating but mainly just for some nudity which I'm sure was almost razed to the ground by protests claiming it was pornography, but it's just there to show a difference of culture and views. I love this movie, I seriously need to get my hands on a physical copy as soon as possible, and I dare even say this is the best film I've reviewed this month. This is easily a 4 star, 8/10, highly recommended movie you should treat yourself to watch. It's always interesting to see customs and traditions held by people that you never get to see, and I was always an open minded individual so it was just fascinating to watch this movie even if everything isn't completely accurate. I'm so just absolutely thrilled and so appreciative I got to see this movie, I can't even explain in words how happy I was to see such a expertly made and wonderfully executed film after the unspeakable shitstorm of a betrayal that the remake was. Watch this movie and do the world a favor and perhaps burn the copies of the remake. You might fall into good graces with somebody out there.