Seeing it for a second time has also allowed me to appreciate just how good the cast actually are. Thomas Jane makes a solid centre, but he is surrounded by a gaggle of wonderful character actors who completely sell each moment. This may not be Darabont’s most elegant script, but he provides great moments for everybody and the whirling, constantly moving camera doesn’t give the director much of a chance to hide a poor performance. Thankfully, he doesn’t have it.
And even though there is little chance of it happening, I would still nominate Marcia Gay Harden for Supporting Actress for her role as Mrs Carmody. She is the scariest villain I have seen all year, a true crack-pot that Harden completely invests in. What makes the role even more horrifying is the almost implicit approval that her world view gets at the end of the film – she was more right then we, as viewers, wanted to believe. It is a brave performance and a mark of Darabont’s respect within the industry that he could assemble such a brilliant ensemble for what is in essence a monster movie.