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|Index||85 reviews in total|
I think I understand why some people didn't like this movie or even walked out of the theater. Actually I almost stopped watching it myself because of the soundtrack. There is a constant piano being played in the background and many, many scenes of people crying and shrieking very loudly, and although this does a wonderful job adding to the creepiness of the movie, it made me physically uneasy and a bit nauseous. That said, this is a terrific movie, at the center of several genres without completely falling into either, my favorite part is how at the end of the movie, you're left with many questions unanswered and you start making your own theories. For example I'm sure that a lot of people will have a few things to think about the boy's uncle. Everything is drawn with very subtle touches here. So yeah, although this movie is difficult to watch, it is in my opinion a real classic, and a must see for the terror amateurs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Throughout the film you never really know on whose side you belong. The parents seem to be caring but at the same time neglectful. The child is obviously weird. At the very beginning when Brad receives the call that Abby, his wife, is about to give birth he rushes out of Central Park with Josh in tow, crosses Central Park West to get a cab but leaves the boy behind on the parkside curb. Another instance of Brad's less than fully adult moves is his reaction to the news that his dog is dead. We, the audience, do not know that this was the nature of the phone call that causes him to flee the squash club, mid game, not changing his clothes and running through the streets like a madman, carrying his clothes with him steaming in the wind. One would have thought that full on death and destruction were afoot, a la 9/11, but his dog was dead. Sad, of course, but not the catastrophe he made of it. Abby is also rather distant. Pride keeps her from admitting that she needs help and she comes across as being self absorbed and self obsessed. Neither parent actually ever fully completes a transaction with their son. They never ask him how or why he feels the way he does or does the things he does. They show no interest in getting help for this boy, who clearly needs it. They are just furious with him without the loving balance of a competent parent, or even a competent adult. If you suspected that your son murdered your mother your first reaction would not be to send him to boarding school (very far way) ASAP. No one ever asks him why he killed gran. The movie is flawed, no doubt. Much is left unexplained and unsaid. A little too much, in my opinion. I wasn't sure how I felt about the film even when it became clear that Joshua had planned the outcome, i.e. the demise of his parents, and that he was indeed a bad seed (not that his parents were such bargains) What has given me pause more than anything else is the last scene when he sits with his uncle Ned (Dallas Roberts) and sings a real love song to him. A song that went on and on. It was shocking! I need to see this again, but it seems to me that Ned remained clueless. Clueless that Joshua was responsible for the situation, and clueless that Joshua was in love with him, or to be more PC, had a huge crush on him. This ultimately made me realize that this is truly a creepy film, which is not a bad thing and probably the only thing that gives it a reason to be considered worthwhile.
You don't have to be a genius to work out that the plot doesn't sound
too dissimilar to "The Omen" or "Orphan", it even has Vera Farmiga
playing the mother again for gods sake! But, "Joshua" is no where near
as great as "The Omen" or "Orphan". Don't get me wrong, it isn't the
worst film I've seen in my life and it does have terrific strengths,
but also weaknesses that drag the film down quite a bit.
"Joshua" has its own style, it's much more subtle than "Orphan", in "Orphan" we see Esther kill countless people so it's really in your face that she's evil. The twist isn't subtle either. But "Joshua" doesn't make it clear if it's his wrong doing or not. So "Joshua" sets out to be more classy than "Orphan" but also no where near as fun or entertaining. I did like how it was subtle and a bit of a slow-burner but sometimes the pacing got a bit too slow and at times boring, but always engaging.
The most impressive thing about "Joshua" is it's atmosphere. It builds up a really tense and uncomfortable atmosphere. It's beautifully bleak and awkward in a good way, not awkward in a bad way like "The Idiots". The boy who plays Joshua is also quite creepy. The unresolved ending also adds to the films creepyness.
So if you want a quietly grim and creepy drama with splashes of horror and intellect. "Joshua" is for you. But, I prefer the fun and weirdness of "Orphan".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, I just wanted to say that this movie was terrific. I am a
fan of movies about evil children and so I knew what to expect, seeing
similar movies such as "The Bad Seed" and "Children of the Corn"
beforehand. I was greatly pleased when I watched this film. The main
thing I liked, besides the wonderful story, was the extremely
well-written characters. Character development is one of the most
important things I feel any movie could have because if you don't care
about the characters, you aren't going to care what happens to them so
what good is watching a movie if you don't care about the characters?
This movie did a wonderful job with writing the characters because I
did care about them. Especially Joshua who was brilliantly portrayed by
Jacob Kogan. He was perfectly cast in the role of Joshua who I think
was misunderstood, and let me explain why:
This film seems to try to portray Joshua as sinister, manipulative and evil and I don't think Joshua was evil at all, I just think he thought differently than other children and had habits and characteristics that were unusual compared to everyone else. He felt unloved by his parents and felt that they weren't giving him enough affection because of his new baby sister so he acted out and started doing these crazy things like collapsing on stage during the piano recital in an effort to gain their attention. In the scene where he tells the baby "no one will ever love you," I felt sorry for him because it shows that he feels unloved and unwanted by his parents so he blames the baby for it. The parents were too busy paying attention to the new baby that at times it seemed like they forgot they even had a son, so this carried on to the point where Joshua seemed to dislike his parents and wanted to be taken away from them, which is evident in the scene with the psychiatrist. I feel that he knew he would be taken away if he drew pictures filled with blood or violence and he wanted that to happen. He and his uncle had a strongbond and he felt he belonged with his uncle rather than his parents. As for the killing of the dog and his grandmother, we never actually see him kill them on screen so they could just be coincidental accidents. I like Joshua and feel that his character was similar to me in many ways including his interest in mummies and Ancient Egyptian culture, which were something I was greatly interested in when I was younger.
Also, the ending of the film was the best part in my opinion. It made me almost cry both times I watched it, so you'd better have a tissue when you watch it. Overall, this film was a great movie with a wonderful story, well written characters, great acting, tons of suspense and great acting. If you haven't seen this movie, see it as soon as possible and try to see the character of Joshua from a different point-of-view than a homicidal maniac.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I give this movie a fair rating. A remake of the black and white film
The Bad Seed. It was far from bad, but it wasn't amazing either. It's a
fun film made for television that questions Joshua innocences.
**Major Spoilers ahead** After all, the camera constantly cuts away from any evil that Joshua supposedly has committed and none of the other characters actually witnesses Joshua committing an evil act. Unfortunately, the parents are unreliable characters/witnesses because A) The mother is suffering from PTSD or some mental disorder after having given birth. B) As for the child abuse, well the dad did "beat his kid in public on a weekend" in the park. But, this does not excuse the fact that Joshua is not innocent as well. He did play a prank on his poor mentally ill mother, he mummified his pet gerbil, he was a butt to his father in public on purpose, and his warped song at the end. There are a few other incidents, but you get the point. Anyways, the film is very ambiguous and leaves the viewers to conclude for themselves if Joshua is evil or not.
Why are there so many American narratives about brilliant evil children? I'm guessing it's because a) these narratives fits perfectly into our incredibly narrow-minded ideology that everyone who behaves in an exceptionally immoral way is simply born that way, with all circumstances of upbringing and other experiences being completely irrelevant to how we turn out, and b) our enculturated stupidity and ignorance is justified by constantly associating intelligence with evil. The movie "Joshua" presents a perfect example of this kind of trite and idiotic story about a highly intelligent boy who in spite of being well cared for and affectionately nurtured wants to hurt his parents and others as much as possible for apparently no reason whatsoever. And, of course, Joshua's family is upper class, because God forbid Hollywood portray the existence of any other kind of social class in America. Nevertheless, most of the other elements of the movie--the directing, acting, cinematography, etc.--are well executed. However, providing beautiful packaging for the usual piece of trash only makes the trash all the more disappointing.
Ratliff's messy psychological thriller seems to have garnered quite
some attention. Now there have been many movies centering around a
sociopathic child. Most of them pretty much follow the same horror
movie type formula where the child is terrorizing an entire family
without them even noticing it. Unfortunately, 'Joshua' is no different.
Firstly, the movie is filled with plot holes and unexplored questions.
For example, why would Brad and Abby keep the video of Abby constantly
crying when holding Joshua? Of course, not surprisingly, the
psychologists and teachers are portrayed as caricature idiots (who
think there's absolutely nothing wrong with this kid).
I was also surprised as how distant the parents were from Joshua in the beginning. Perhaps they knew something was off but stayed in denial. The parents too are portrayed as being stupid. They didn't even question Joshua giving all his toys away to charity and disemboweling his teddy bear. Some responses towards this movie are quite disturbing. One reviewer even wrote that he found himself vouching for the kid.
I wish there would be a movie that would at least do justice to the themes of a child sociopath rather than rely on clichés. Even the unexplored ending is very easily predictable and dissatisfying. The only non-clichéd angel is that director Ratliff refrained from using blood and gore but that doesn't make this a better movie. He tries to make it creepy by using typical shock tactics but they feel out of place. The so-called 'twists' are quite convenient. The behaviour of most of the characters is irrational.
The only plus point of 'Joshua' are the performances. Both Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga are very good in spite of having to play poorly written characters. I really wonder why they chose to act in this. Jacob Kogan plays it by the formula. Celia Weston is adequate even though her character is conveniently annoying as hell.
Overall, this is just trying to be a 'smarter' version of 'The Omen'. Other than Rockwell and Farmiga's performance, there's nothing going for it. Not even the slow pace.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched the whole movie, waiting and waiting for something to actually happen. Maybe it's my fault for expecting evil and horror instead of psychology? Is it a weird re-telling of the Oedipal myth: I want to kill my father and mother and marry my uncle and compose musical theater with him? I didn't understand why certain plot elements were even present: why was the construction upstairs, why was there that big stairwell with a perfect spot for someone to fall to their doom if no one was actually going to do so, why have the scenes at all with the father at work, why have such a nice kitchen if you're only going to eat takeout, why would the boy want to be baptized and the parents be the ones to resist instead of the other way around. I see lots of good reviews for this movie...has my taste been corrupted by going up with 70s b-movies and old sci fi flicks?
sorry folks, second film in 24 hours which fails for me and ihave watched this a couple of times now. I even watched it again after reading some of these reviews in case I missed something. Don't think so. Yes good acting by Sam Rockwell and a touching concept about a disturbed child (certainly no genius)who is jealous and affected by the birth of his baby sister. Sure, it touches on middle class issues and indeed on issues on how parent and child 'might' feel in such a situation, but hey, please don't compare it with 'Don't Look Now', this film doesn't even come close in comparison for intrigue acting drama thrills or suspense. overall it is a disappointing film,not carrying enough punch for me. didn't know what to expect beforehand, so I was open minded, but this is no horror movie and it falls short on psychological thriller. At best, its an overplayed drama which has a very slow start and if you make it to the hour mark without falling asleep, you are doing well. Only watched it a third time and in breaks from the DVD because curious so many people liked this movie. Don't agree that its a movie to make you think (ponder maybe) but not for long, an easily forgotten movie, even if you have a child of your own who has been even slightly rebellious to you in your parenting of him to relate to questions raised by this movie
The acting in the film is really well done honestly, but the movie is
so slow and so boring, as soon as it gets interesting everything slows
to a major halt. I am glad to see Sam Rockwell in this, he did a great
job, so did the other actors as I mentioned but man... this is one of
the worst dragged out films I have ever seen. Now maybe in a short film
form this movie would be good, but other than that, avoid it. This film
has so much filler it makes a Twinkie cake jealous.
I never, ever, walk out on films, but watching this one at home with family, I walked out. Yeah, it was that boring. Apparently my comment doesn't have enough lines to post, so here's some more filler. I guess I was inspired by the movie I just watched.
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