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The timing of this film could not be more propitious as the courts
struggle with Darwinism, Creationism, and separation of church and
state, creating embittered conversations about fact versus faith. The
fact that this film adaptation of an actual event results in a work of
such touching tenderness is due to the imagination and artistry of
writer Paul Harris Boardman and co-writer and director Scott
Derrickson, as well as a fine cast of some of our best actors. This is
not a horror flick: this is a thinking person's film that has the
courage to discuss the possibilities of things on one can explain.
Father Moore (a brilliant Tom Wilkinson) is a priest being tried for negligent homicide in the death of a young college student Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), a parishioner who sought his help feeling she was possessed by demons. The archdiocese hires pragmatic, agnostic lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney in another superlative role) to defend Father Moore. The prosecuting attorney is strongly religious Methodist Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott in an atypical role well realized). The film is basically a courtroom drama: the polar sides being scientific (medical) facts versus spiritually based possibilities and the writing for both lawyers is bitingly incisive. Mixed into the testimony and preparation for the trial are flashbacks to the events leading up to Emily's death, including the gradual possession of Emily's body by six demons and her reaction to the possession, and the exorcism performed by Father Moore. The priest does not fear jail or loss of clerical collar: his only concern is that he be able to tell Emily's shared story, a story that raises more questions in everybody's minds than providing legal results of the trial.
Laura Linney is extraordinary as the agnostic hardened lawyer whose very being is shaken by the case which she tries. The nuances of her character are so well conveyed that we come to understand the un-understandable as she sees it. Likewise Tom Wilkinson and Campbell Scott shine, as do all of the minor characters. The cinematography of Tom Stern is among the most artful of the year and the musical score by Christopher Young is intensely atmospheric. This is not yet another in the endless line of horror flicks, though the Para scientific manifestations of demon possession are graphically enacted (not my cup of tea but necessary for the story). This is a much more important story than that and one that would be helpful in aiding understanding if both agnostics/pragmatists and spiritual people watched and listened. Grady Harp
This is exactly the sort of movie that receives the tag-line
"controversy" before its initial release. Given the spate of possession
movies since the infamous "Exorcist" movie in the 1970's, I wondered
why people would be interested in another Demonic Possession movie in
2005. The reason became apparent when the story unfolded. I sat among a
multicultured audience that evening, watching the harrowing spectacle
of Emily Rose's plight during her period of possession. Whether or not
we believed she was truly possessed or suffered a mental illness is
unclear, but our hearts went out to Emily Rose regardless. Her
suffering was poignantly touching and excited pity rather than
revulsion during her manic demonic bouts.
Kudos goes to the cast who brought the story to life. The controlled performances of EmilyRose,Fr. Moore and Erin Bruhrer were impressive to say the least. In fact this movie felt more like a t.v drama or a documentary without expensive S/Fx to hinder the story's flow.
During the scene when Fr. Moore read out Emily's letter, there was utter silence in the theatric. This really impressed me, as the audience was a mixed religious group of Arab nationals, Hindus and miscellaneous others. I could almost read their uppermost thoughts. Was Emily Rose really sane when she accepted her fate in the field? Why did God allow all this to happen to her?
I don't think we left the cinema theatre with the answers to these questions. But we did leave in thoughtful silence and reflection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like just about everyone else on this site, I went to this film with my
hardcore cheezy horror flick buddy expecting another Japanese remake or
another teen-scream job filled with cheap scare tactics and bad CGI
featuring the usual creepy kid. Well, I got neither. Instead, the
"Exorcism of Emily Rose" is more of a courtroom base drama, which
tactically uses every single scary shot that are in the film in the
trailers with the attempt to bring in a target audience, which may have
disappointed some viewers.
As mentioned before "Rose", is really a courtroom drama that centers around the trial of Father Moore (Wilkinson) who is on trial for his role in the death of Emily Rose (Carpenter) defended by an agnostic lawyer, Erin Bruner, played pleasantly by Laura Linney. The death of Emily Rose is in question: was she possessed or was she suffering from severe psychosis and epilepsy? After all medical tactics and tests had been exhausted and unresolved, Father Moore is brought in to cure her of her possession which unfortunately takes a wrong turn. It's during this trial where you see both sides of the court as Emily's recollections are revisited and where the creepiness comes in.
Truthfully, I really wasn't disappointed with the fact that film was marketed incorrectly as I'm not really a big fan of horror flicks. I'm more annoyed with the fact that film, which was supposed to be based on a true story, was nothing close to what the actual story. The real case was set in Germany, involved 2 priests both which were on trial along with parents. Also, according to various information, the conference of German bishops agreed that she was NOT possessed. Quite an important piece of information since the film leaves it up the viewer to decides whether or not she was really possessed.
Not only I was not scared, since they wasted all the creepy parts in the trailers, I was completely bored. The movie starts in the courtroom and ends in the courtroom and its filled with every courtroom cliché known to man. Rude and abrasive prosecutor? Check. Charismatic and underdog defense lawyer? Check. Surprise evidence? Check. Key witness dying or disappearing? Check. Surprise verdict? Check. After awhile I though this movie was based on another John Grisham novel.
The acting was pretty good and dialog and the storyline is enough to keep you interested. The film also does a good job at reliving the events leading up to her death, shows both theories on what happened to her both with convincing tales. This is what really builds the film and holds it together. And, regardless of the tons of clichés, the film is still somewhat original with the rest of crap that's in the theater. Overall this is quality film that may lose some audiences due to the fact it isn't directed by Wes Craven and the acting is quite good. But, in the end I'd suggest Googling "Emily Rose" instead of watching the movie if you really want facts concerning her exorcism.
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.
The nineteen years old Catholic college girl Emily Rose (Jennifer
Carpenter) dies a couple of days after being submitted to an exorcism
carried out by her parish priest, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson). Emily
believed she was possessed by six demons, and although authorized by
Emily and he parents, Father Moore is accused of negligent homicide,
since he had suggested Emily to interrupt the use of medications for
epilepsy. In order to avoid a scandal, the Archdiocese hires the
successful, ambitious and agnostic lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney),
and the prosecution assigns the religious prosecutor Ethan Thomas
(Campbell Scott). Along the days, there is a battle between science and
religion in the court.
"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was a great surprise for me. Based on a true event, I was expecting a horror movie like "The Exorcist", but actually it is a great story of trial, with the confrontation of science and religion, but with an agnostic lawyer defending and a religious one accusing a priest. The story is leaded by Erin, and her contact with the unknown and her final speech are some of the great moments of this film. Among the scariest parts are Dr. Cartwright (Duncan Fraser) saying that he started praying again since he had witnessed the exorcism, and when the priest explains that 3 AM is the demoniac witching hour. The direction of Scott Derrickson is excellent, using special effects only when necessary, and very well supported by a magnificent cast, leaded by the wonderful Laura Linney and the great Tom Wilkinson, followed by the unknown Jennifer Carpenter, who is great in the role of Emily Rose, Campbell Scott and Colm Feore. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "O Exorcismo de Emily Rose" ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose")
I kept waiting for it to get scary. I thought perhaps I selected the
unscary option on the menu. No such luck. Not frightening at all - just
boring. Like twiddling your thumbs boring. We've seen the exorcism
stuff before and the story moved like a catholic mass on a Tuesday
morning. However, every frame of this movie is a work of pure visual
art - the director and his team had a master's eye no doubt and the
sound design is superb. For those reasons I'll keep my "unrated
version" DVD but that's it. Scary? No.
With the director's commentary enabled, the director recalls some advice from Clint Eastwood where too much "analysis is paralysis". This movie turned out to be a quadriplegic. The director should have kept those words in mind while making the movie instead of recalling it for the commentary.
Beautiful to look at but nearly impossible to sit through without laughing at how 'serious' it's supposed to be.
I don't understand why these exorcism movies keep getting remade with the same exact story every time. There is nothing new here. Just look up the exorcism in any fantasy dictionary and you will know the plot. There is no suspense and I wouldn't call this movie horror. The ending was obvious and they didn't even try to do anything imaginative or new. It is a drama told in flashbacks about a failed exorcism. The priest goes to trial where they presented creepy evidence yo the jury who are also told about odd circumstances. You can guess how it ends. All in all, I don't know why this movie was made. It had no point. The movie followed the most obvious path and ended in the most obvious way. It was boring.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the movie, it's shown that, Emily was instructed by God to leave
human realm or let it stay the way it was so that other people would
know about spiritual realm.
In today's world many mental diseases come as if they have got a hand of God in them. I believe that to be true. I also believe that more than procedures like exorcism; modern medical science can provide better relief. The only tough part is the time required to become well under guidance of these medicines, it's as if one goes through hell. One thinks it's better without medical treatment.
The incidence of timing 3:00 happened in my case. The watch stopped. The only difference was it was day. I was feeling supernaturally special, but it was not real. Whatever I have experienced has let me known that parallel realms exist.
During the trial for his events, a lawyer tries to help her client, a
priest, seek the truth about what happened to the young woman who died
under his care while performing an exorcism to cure her of a demonic
possession and eventually lets the truth about it be known.
This wasn't anywhere as bad as it could've been. The film is really split into two halves here with this one being basically helped greatly by its really good possession and shock scenes. The opening scene that sets her up to becoming possessed is one of it's best sequences, as the long hallway and the unearthly voices floating around give it an unearthly feel while the first scene in the classroom where she sees a demonic face appearing in the window through a cloud of mist and turns around to see a student's face turn into a distorted demon's face giving off an unearthly roar makes it quite shocking. Running out into the rain and seeing more demonic faces give off the same unearthly roar is a bit clichéd, but it still helps to sell the mood while the finale in the church giving this a quite creepy conclusion. The different manners of how she's become afflicted are quite memorable moments with the frenzied bug-eating, speaking in tongues or just contorting her body into such impossible positions that it really becomes obvious something is wrong with her, and the long, suspenseful and chilling exorcism is the film's selling point, coming off with any number of creepy ideas and scenes in such a drawn-out style is one of the best scenes in the film. Otherwise, beyond the shocks and the exorcism, there isn't much else to like about it. Therefore, everything else in it doesn't really work which is only relegated to the courtroom battle drama. It's marketed as being a supernatural possession film, and the best moments come from those scenes, but the fact that the majority of the film is a courtroom battle with the supernatural elements coming in the form of flashbacks is a real misstep and is likely to confuse those coming in expecting the other kind of film. It's not that they're boring or anything, it's just that it's out of nowhere that it becomes that way, and it can be a disappointment. The fact that these are slow and really long don't help matters, extending this out far longer than it should. This could've easily been an hour and a half, or maybe a little longer, but the two hours running time forces it to keep the courtroom antics going for no reason other than to extend the running time. A few extraneous scenes could've been snipped as well, including the introductory scenes at the bar that repeat information we already know and also keep the running time going, and most of the time simply elicit a feeling of wanting to move along and get to the good scenes. These really harm the film.
Rated PG-13: Language, Mild Violence and intense demonic and spiritual themes.
This film, loosely based on a real case occurred in Germany, tells the
story of a Catholic priest, tried and charged with negligent homicide
after an exorcism gone wrong. Directed by Scott Derrickson, which also
provides the screenplay with Paul Harris Boardman, the film stars Laura
This is a film made in an original way: based on the traditional formula of exorcisms movies, it innovates basing on the consequences of the exorcism. Its not for all audiences, contains some shocking scenes for sensitive people, but is much lighter (visually) than other similar films. Terror is more psychological than visual, although Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Emily, be excellent in the production of frightening scowls and grimaces. The film manages a very open attitude towards the exorcism, as the court exposing arguments for and against what happened. The film doesn't assume that the devil exists, although its understood throughout the film.
The interpretation of Jennifer Carpenter is regular, only highlights in the horror scenes, contrasting with the good interpretation of Laura Linney (who plays Erin, a skeptical defense lawyer confronted with something beyond her understanding) and Tom Wilkinson, who gave life to a priest visibly guided by faith rather than reason. Unfortunately, almost all the other characters are mere props, never deserve more development. Another major flaw of this film are the special and visual effects. In certain scenes, they result very well and can scare enough but, at other times, they are so weird, so poorly made that seem ridiculous, especially when we see it a second time. The soundtrack sought to accompany the film, but its not different from what we hear in hundreds of other horror movies.
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