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Today’s Reliable Source notes some of the geographical anomalies in The Invasion, the latest remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The paranoid thriller, which opens tomorrow, is set in Washington and Baltimore, and its exteriors were shot entirely in those cities (mostly the latter). Being the Reliable Source, the column’s comments emphasize upscale cuisine (the film’s caviar is supposedly too expensive) and suburban fixations (the Nicole Kidman character parks too easily in Georgetown).
The film includes lots of the usual Hollywood jumbling of locations, as when Kidman drives from one part of Northwest to another on a route that somehow takes her down Independence Avenue SW past the Agriculture Department. What’s more interesting, however, is how the movie blurs D.C. and B’more, suggesting an exceptional ease of transport between the two cities. If the movie’s geography were accurate, Barbara Mikulski‘s pork-barrel maglev study would be irrelevant.
For example, Kidman works in a downtown in which, from block to block, Washington becomes Baltimore and then reverts. And in one scene, she escapes alien-possessed humans by running down a suburban Charm City street that leads very quickly to the Cleveland Park Metro station. In a rare action scene filmed on D.C.’s subway, she hops on a train. But when it stops in mid-tunnel and she must flee into the tunnel, the car she leaves has the markings of Baltimore’s MTA.
It seems that the even filmmakers lost track of what city the movie was in at any given moment. In the climactic action sequence, Kidman is driving through downtown Baltimore while communicating by cell phone with a potential rescuer. The voice at the other end of the call asks where she is, and Kidman blurts that she thinks she’s headed south on 13th Street.
Maybe director Oliver Hirschbiegel just needs to get out more. His last movie to get U.S. distribution, Downfall, was set mostly in Hitler’s bunker. Still, when the Fuhrer’s aides in that film reported the location of the advancing Russian troops, they never said they were on the Champs Elysées.