The first few words that opened Pontypool about the missing cat and the last words of Pontypool when Grant and Sydney were dressed up in weird outfits rambing on confusing things pretty much summed up my experience of the whole movie: CONFUSION. Although there were some bits and portions that I was able to comprehend, I don’t think I was able to fully grasp the whole concept of the film until I re-examined some of the ideas that I was able to actually understand. Actually, come to think of it, the word understand which I used in the previous sentence is interestingly a main point of the film (or lack thereof).
I thought it was very interesting that the only setting of the whole film was in the radio station. The very medium of radio in itself is not visual and relies very definitely on the use of sound, words and most importantly, the reception of the people through listening. Throughout the entire film, there are so many things that were only left up to our imagination like that Ken Loney guy from the sunshine chopper who we don’t even see, but can only hear as he describes the events that he witnesses. The power that is left for the audience’s imagination makes one think of all the imagery that can fill the gap between the description and understand the situation or try to understand the situation at the very least.
The film was quite creative in its play of the form of words, a deeper understanding of the word understanding and the concept of an idea which may sound redundant but totally appropriate for the film nonetheless. In the film, at first, the audience is left to toss and turn in their seats constantly trying to pick up a few breadcrumbs here and there to be able to grasp what was happening in Pontypool and as the story unravels itself and tells itself to the audience, the understanding of the events and the happenings ironically also reveal that understanding ideas and words in themselves is a sort of sickness. In fact, in the film, it is treated as a virus that is totally infectious. The written word seems harmless and totally not threatening until the actual idea of the word in itself unravels for you to comprehend it. And the danger of transmitting the written word to an actual sound, something that they do in radio exposes the people to hearing it, comprehending it themselves and crystallizes in their brains to form the concept and to actualize the concept that they understand. I think the film best portrays this when Sydney almost catches the ‘virus’ when she starts to understand ‘Killing’ and internalize the whole idea. When Grant deconstructs the word to reform it and reshape the concept in he brain and when he tried to confuse the audience through his nonsensical speech at the end, it seems that he was able to find the anecdote. The cure was to not make them understand, destroy the virus of the word. Overall, I thought Pontypool was suc an out of the box and intriguing film that psychological thriller buffs can, watch, comprehend and chew on.