The Dead Zone (1983)

21 October 1983

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David Cronenberg's first foray into mainstream filmmaking is also one of his most satisfying pictures. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, the movie stars Christopher Walken as Johnny, a man who has been in a coma for five years and wakes up to find that he can tell a person's fate just by touching them. Realising that he can change the future as well, Johnny soon intervenes in a number of would-be tragedies. Consequently, he soon becomes famous for his gift, but he longs for his former life, when he still had his job, his fiancee, and a normal life. However, when he shakes hands with a future president of the United States (Martin Sheen, in a wonderfully hammy performance) who could end up being the biggest mass murderer since Hitler, Johnny wrestles with what seems to be his destiny. Walken's bravura performance forms the soul of this excellent and touching thriller.

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