Published Dec 01, 2005Rudy Spruance (Jason Biggs) is transported to an isolated military base in Qangattarsa, Greenland, in 1979. A mosquito attack leaves him incapacitated in the base's sick bay, and when he comes to, he finds his fellow soldiers calling him Pederson. Colonel Woolwrap (Jeremy Northam) has mistaken Spruance for the base's new newspaper editor, and despite his insistence, the Colonel refuses to investigate this clerical error. Spruance's closest ally is beautiful Seargant Teale (Natalie McElhone), who is also Woolwrap's lover. Following several escape attempts, Spruance is forced to adopt this new identity as military propagandist. Upon uncovering The Wing, a mysterious hospital ward for presumed casualties from Woolwrap's Vietnam unit, Spruance finds himself secretly assisting the last conscious patient, X (Michael Ironside), in an effort to contact the outside world.
Romp-comedy paragon Biggs lands in unusual territory with this damning portrait of military-press relations. Spruance is written in the tradition of Heller's tortured Yossarian and Blatty's shell-shocked Kane sensitive men caught in a mystifying institutional war machine. To this, Biggs lends a likeable human face. Northam's imposing performance as weathered Colonel Woolwrap appears to channel the stoic charisma of Robert Ryan.
Shot in Canada and Iceland, Francois Deganais' cinematography aptly depicts the film's underlying lonely mood. The soundtrack is often heaped with temporal selections to reflect the social climate of the late '70s Edwin Starr and Grand Funk are on hand but holds some refreshing variations that enhance the film's tone, such as Brownie McGhee's "Lonesome Day."
Brit director Metzstein deserves praise for his handling of the material. In illustrating serious dilemmas of the military in peace-time, of military-run press, and the film's ultimate message of dishonesty and corruption in the name of duty, Guy X is thought-provoking and involving. (Film and Music Entertainment)