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Scott Derricksen's well-executed multi-layered film works both as a
psychological horror and a gripping courtroom drama. He was so inspired
by the novel and intrigued by the issues presented that he ended up
making this movie. It shows that he has done extensive research.
What I liked about the horror element is that even though there are a few jumps, it does not derail into ridicule. The director doesn't overdo any violence, blood, scary faces and whatever. Derricksen uses a lot of silence which leaves the viewer in a heightened state of suspense desperately wondering what will break the silence. His use of colour is clever and it sets a chilling atmosphere. You can see hints of Dario Argento and Gaspar Noé. For example the red lit corridor in Emily's dorm looks eerily like that underground subway passage in 'Irréversible'. The exorcism scenes are quite chilling (unlike the unintentionally funny ones in 'The Exorcist'). The courtroom sequences raise some interesting questions about scientific reasoning versus the unknown and unexplained. I was impressed that it didn't become one of those God versus Science movies but the Shohreh Agdashloo track left a lot to be desired.
In addition to being a well crafted film, the performances are among the highlights. Tom Wilkinson gives a phenomenal subtle performance. A ravishing Laura Linney is equally electrifying from the yuppie ambitious lawyer to one whose internal conflict makes her doubtful. Jennifer Carpenter delivers an astonishing performance. It couldn't have been an easy part to pull off and would have been easier to mess up but she does a solid job. It definitely makes Linda Blair's bad performance (in the 'Exorcist') look miserable.
I'm not much of a horror movie fan, mostly because they tend to be ridiculous and end up being funny or boring rather than having the intended effect. It will be wrong to lable 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' is much more than just another horror flick because it does raise questions and tackles some issues without coming to a definitive conclusion (as there are simply no answers to some things that happen).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Emily Rose is a devout Catholic who undergoes a shocking and unexpected transformation while at college.Her family asks Father Moore to perform an exorcism.When Emily dies,Moore is charged with criminally negligent homicide.Laura Linney plays Erin Bruner,the lawyer hired to defend Moore."The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is based on a true facts.This is a highly ambitious horror flick that has its share of suspense and scares.It mixes elements of courtroom drama with possession flick in the vein of "The Exorcist".Laura Linney,Tom Wilkinson and Campbell Scott are all great,as is Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose.There are a few good scares with director Scott Derrickson using awkward pauses of silence mixed with a few furious demonic scenes to build and keep steady tension.Unfortunately the film is occasionally quite dull during its courtroom segments,however it surely asks a lot of important questions about our faith or beliefs.So if you enjoyed "The Exorcist" or "Omen" you may give this one a look.Fans of sleaze/gore will be disappointed.7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a Catholic Priest I was VERY interested in this movie! I have never done an exorcism but I know several priests who have. There are lots of good books & articles on real exorcisms available today & I wish somebody would make a film which reflects the successful outcome of most exorcisms. The case of Annelise Michel (Emily Rose) in Germany in 1976 is one of the saddest cases in the past 2000 years. In addition to having severe medical disorders & possibly being tormented by a dark spiritual force, the young girl also starved herself to death ... & her parents & 2 priests allowed her to do so! The film is really about 2 separate but related true stories: 1)Emily's "possession" by a demon 2)Emily's tragic death by self-starvation. The courtroom scenes do a pretty good job of explaining the differences between medical/psychological disorders & demonic possession. The film does NOT explain why Emily's parents & priests did not get her medical help as soon as she stopped eating. The film implies that this tragic neglect was part of the official Exorcism Rite of the Catholic Church. NO WAY! When priests perform an exorcism (a priest is NEVER allowed to perform an exorcism alone) there is usually a doctor or nurse present who monitors the medical condition of the victim/patient. Some exorcisms are even done in hospitals. Allowing someone to starve herself to death is NOT part of the Rite of Exorcism! It is also an inhumane act of negligence! For an accurate description & text of the Rite of Exorcism, Google-search "Rite of Exorcism" & read for yourself. The movie did make my heart beat a little faster for a few minutes & it made me think ... two things which make a good movie. But I hope people are intelligent enough to realize that most exorcisms have a "happy ending" ... the case of Emily Rose is a rare & very sad exception.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When dealing in matters of faith many people tread lightly. Sometimes
it because we want to be sensitive and not offend. Other may fear that
their agendas may air on the side of propaganda rather than
inspiration. In the case of THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE I believe the
film makers committed an even bigger sin, they made a film that was
just plain stupid.
When young Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter, Whit Chicks) went off to college she thought all her dreams were coming true. That is until the six demons climbed into her body, one claiming to be Lucifer himself. The medical community thinks she may have epilepsy and so they put her on meds. Her parish Priest Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson, In The Bedroom) suggests a higher form of intervention and performs and exorcism on her. Now Emily Rose is dead and it's up to a hotshot Lawyer (Lauren Linney, You Can Count On Me) to defend Father Moore's actions and to keep him out of jail.
Director and Co-Screenwriter Scott Derickson (Hellraiser:Inferno) claims to have invented the first Horror/Courtroom Drama. I think he's right, and after sitting through this film I know why it took so long for it to happen. It doesn't work Not only because you cannot stop and think for one moment that this is how a courtroom is run. But mostly because you're not quite sure why Father Moore is up on the stand and not the doctor (Duncan Fraiser, The Claim) who was checking her vitals the whole time, Emily's Father, and/or Emily's Boyfriend who were all there at the scene of the crime . They were all present and did nothing to stop it. Why the heck do you only charge Father Moore with the crime? If you go to this movie thinking it's a horror film your seriously mistaken. It's more like the worst written episode of Law and Order you've ever seen. Courtroom cliché's abound, even a minor character who can shed light on the situation is bumped off. Why? Well for once it was an accident, or was it an act of God? The plot thickens, okay not really.
The sad part is that there could have been a compelling movie here. Emily Rose's story could have been fascinating. But alas for a film in which the Father Moore spouts out a half dozen times "I need to tell Emily's story." We only scratch the surface of who Emily Rose was? Why was she possessed? I can't for one moment believe it was for the half-baked and silly reason the film claims. What was she like before she went to college? Except for on old house full of cats and parents whom I might consider a little odd the film never delves into that.
Instead of telling Emily's story the film focuses on a trail that is so convoluted and silly that I almost burst out laughing. The final argument for Father Moore's innocence is that "There are No Facts Only Possibilities." Give me a break, what kind of numb-skull logic is that? Did Linney's character get a law degree off the back of a fortune cookie? That's not to say their aren't some redeeming qualities to the film. Lauren Linney and Campbell Scott (The prosecutor) do a tremendous job with a half baked script, and while he should probably stick to directing Scott Derrickson shows that he could make a nice moody Horror film if given the right material.
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE misses the mark so badly its pretty much unredeemable. It's almost a shame because you can tell that a great many minds worked hard to make a film that asked us to explore our faith "with fear and trembling." Next time forget platitudes and try to tell a good story. Because good intentions, with poor plotting and sloppy story telling make a joke of any message you might try to foist on your audience.
I liked the idea of this a whole lot.
Laura Linney was at the edge of her competence here, but she's close.
The idea is simple. We have the courtroom movie. Its a form that allows nesting or folding of stories in various ways. Its been extended in all sorts of ways, including Kurosawa and Christie. Why not extend it so that the story within is another movie genre?
Why not? And then flatten it into a set of questions about reality, the stories we make in reality. Its a movie where he folks in the movie look at us and wonder what makes a true story. In the film, the question is whether the priest is true about this girl being possessed, a story that has been fabricated over thousands of years. Or whether "common sense" tells you otherwise.
Outside the movie, the reflection is on the relevance of story at all. And why would we willingly choose story over "truth" anyway? We often do, even when the story is that we are not.
Unfortunately, the filmmaker once again had bigger ideas than he had skill.
But its a noble idea nonetheless.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
I love movies like The Exorcist, and Ghostbusters, which are admitted
works of fiction, but this one attempts to claim it's based on a true
story, and sounds more like religious propaganda against skepticism and
science that conflicts with people's personal feelings and world-views.
Remember when people thought "The Amittyville Horror" was a true story? Turns out the family that lived in that house made up all the ghost stories to get attention and money from the movie rights. They confessed to it. Studios continued giving the public what they wanted with more sequels and remakes of this confessed lie, all for the sake of profit.
This film is based on something that supposedly happened in Germany in the 1970's, and now it's a film put in theaters, charging $10 a person, where it takes place in America in present day, playing to a population of 300,000,000 people who 85% believe in God, and 75% are Christian. That's a lot of money to be made. Just ask Mel Gibson, and the creators of Narnia.
The only message of this film is, skeptics are just crabby and not realistic, and anything that's weird or coincidental in life has a purpose, and anything new to science is spiritually related. Science and reason are the bad guys, while irrational hopes for the fantastic to be true are more than hopes. It's a feel-good movie for people who fear or dislike skepticism. There is an attempt to make it sound like a balanced ending when she talks about "possibilities", but that's inconsistent with the rest of the film which says "demons are real, demons are real, demons are real!".
Most people would rather believe the film's message because most paying customers don't consider skepticism an option, but yet want to make sense of this "spiritual world", without even considering once that the REASON the spirit world doesn't make any sense because it doesn't exist in the first place, so a movie like this will get high marks, even if it were shot with a home camcorder, and acted with the local neighbors.
I call a mistrial.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie didn't suck, and the acting was great all around. That's
about all the good I can say about it. I would have enjoyed it as a
halfway-decent thriller or a courtroom drama more if it hadn't claimed
to be based on a real story. But when Laura Linney says during trial
that "this case is not about facts," that summed up about everything
wrong with the religious apologists I've seen in the media lately, from
George W. Bush to the Kansas Board of Education. This idea that facts
don't matter has poisoned cultural discourse for the last decade or
more: some people seem to think that, as long as we have Faith, our
negligent fact-checking won't lead to any wrongdoing.
It would be one thing if writer/director Scott Derrickson and co-writer Paul Harris Boardman simply presented the "facts don't matter" tactic as part of the defense's legal strategy, but they add details to the story that try to shore this argument up. To its credit, the story concludes with the priest being found guilty of negligent manslaughter, which is apparently what happened in the real-life case in Germany. Weighing against this are the made-up story details about Linney's and Tom Wilkinson's characters being plagued by evil signs and visions, and the attending physician being killed just as he tells Linney that he sees the demons. Combined with Hollywood pop-psychology ("schizophrenics never know they're schizophrenic"), these would be workable, if clichéd, in a movie that admitted it was solely fiction, but here they serve only as a crutch to prop up the sagging drama and as evidence of the screenwriters' bias.
The acting was excellent, but, not having seen Hellraiser: Inferno, I can't say that this is due to the direction. I do know that Laura Linney has handled herself well before in Mystic River and You Can Count on Me, and Tom Wilkinson was great in In the Bedroom and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; here, they clearly pick up the slack left by the script. Wilkinson, in particular, plays the best Flawed Holy Avenger since Jason Miller. It is not an easy thing to come up with a convincing character when the story around you is thin, but they manage to do it. Relative newcomer Jennifer Carpenter did fine as Emily, although her role consisted mostly of contorting herself and screaming hysterically. I really felt for her at moments, thinking that, regardless of whether it was demons or psychosis that ailed her, it was horrifying to think what she must have been going through.
That emotional level got me through the movie. The storytelling shortcuts and the intellectual dishonesty grated against me, but I was able to cope with it for the two hours or so that I sat there. If only it hadn't claimed to be based on real events, it could have told a better story, and more honestly.
The exorcism of Emily Rose,really is an average to pretty mediocre courtroom drama, made worse by the constant and heavy handed introduction of blatant Christian propaganda permeating pretty much every scene. It's one redeeming factor was Jennifer Carpenter's superb performance,her scenes unfortunately were few and far between though, she really worked for her fee here. It felt to me from quite early on that the message about the agnostic lawyer eventually accepting the existence of a god was just really obviously and the whole point of the film. So unless you really want to sit through what feels like hours of pro Christian cinema, don't bother.
Amazing story, had my eyes glued to the screen waiting to see the verdict of Father Moore; Really worth watching, not gory. Based on a true story which makes it scarier; Held my friends hand at one point, buy it on DVD. I rate it 10/10. I can watch this over and over and it will still be as magical, i was thinking of using a Ouija board with my friend Emily and i'm called Alice, with brown eyes and ginger hair. Put me off, aha. No but seriously, changes your view on the devil and messing with him. Also didn't watch it in one night, woke up early in the morning, couldn't check the clock in case it was 3am. Spooky. Overall, a great film and really worth your time and money, not the scariest i've seen but definitely gives you chills.
Emily Rose has died. She believed to be possessed by demons and sought
out help from father Moore. After her death he is charged with criminal
negligence. Taking up Moore's case is Erin Bruner; know for winning
hard to win cases. She isn't really religious, but starts to feel an
unknown presence when she takes the case. During the court room and
through conversation with people, we are taken back to see what
happened to Emily and how it came to her death.
When making a film about exorcism, it is a hard subject to tackle. Not many movies have really succeeded with the area well. When in concept you think of adding a court room drama into the horror style nature of the subject of exorcism, it becomes quite interesting. Though when it plays out, it doesn't really make it any better. When we are in the court room, it the down point of the movie, as it detracts from the main idea, what really happened to Emily. Though in the flash backs we see what did happened, but it needed more to it. They should have focused more upon Emily and her tragedy, the fight against God and the Devil, not the fight between lawyers.
There are some good intense moments. When Emily is first attacked in her room and when Erin experiences a similar event are very well done. The demonic faces that Emily see are disturbing, and Emily's body contorts are equally disturbing, but they are kept to a minimum. They needed more of these scenes to keep the suspense up. The exorcism is done good to, it initially seemed flat as the court room, but picks up when they are in the barn, it really gets going then. But its short lived, should have been a lot more to it.
Though it doesn't reach the level of horror or drama it was wanting, its still an interesting watch. It's about time they left the topic of exorcism alone.
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