Review: ‘Christine’

Christine seems like a retread. This time it's a fire-engine red, 1958 Plymouth Fury that's possessed by the Devil, and this deja vu premise [from the novel by Stephen King] combined with the crazed vehicle format, makes Christine appear pretty shop-worn.

Christine seems like a retread. This time it’s a fire-engine red, 1958 Plymouth Fury that’s possessed by the Devil, and this deja vu premise [from the novel by Stephen King] combined with the crazed vehicle format, makes Christine appear pretty shop-worn.

Title character’s nasty personality is neatly established in an assembly line prolog, which leaves one man dead and another injured. Jump to 1978 and Christine is a broken-down junker. Nevertheless, she’s the object of love at first sight for misfit high school student Keith Gordon, who purchases her despite objections from his parents and best friend, and restores her to her 1950s glory.

Gordon also undergoes a transformation, evolving from campus klutz to Mr Cool and acquiring the foxiest girl in the school (Alexandra Paul) in the process. But when the couple begins making out at a drive-in movie, Christine nearly knocks off Paul in a fit of romantic jealousy.

Director John Carpenter’s principle challenge was to create a real character of the car, and in this he has succeeded admirably. Flashy auto dominates everything, its jealousy is effectively, and sometimes humorously, conveyed, and some of the best sequences involve incidents in which the car miraculously restores itself to pristine condition after having been banged up and even torched.

Technically, the film is outstanding, and Carpenter’s choice of lenses and widescreen work is as astute as ever.

Christine

Production

Columbia/Delphi. Director John Carpenter; Producer Richard Kobritz; Screenplay Bill Phillips; Camera Donald M. Morgan; Editor Marion Rothman; Music John Carpenter, Alan Howarth;; Art Director Daniel Lomino

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Keith Gordon John Stockwell Alexandra Paul Robert Prosky Harry Dean Stanton Christine Belford
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