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Reviews & Ratings for
Joshua More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Good Movie Killed by Marketing it as a new "Omen" or "Bad Seed"

9/10
Author: jonnykwest83 from United States
16 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

****WARNING*** MINOR SPOILERS

I was intrigued by the trailer for this film, lured into thinking it was another "Bad Seed" or a new riff on "The Omen." I was surprised when, even in LA, this movie received a less than normal advertising campaign and a less than wide release. I should have gone with my "Rockwell reflex," meaning any movie with Sam Rockwell in it should definitely be paid attention to. I think he's one of the best and most under-rated actor today. His choice of projects are diverse and are (I assume) made with interest toward script and character instead of a big paycheck.

I recently bought this film on DVD, expecting a Suspense/Horror film along the lines that I was fed by the marketing of the film. I was not a fan of the 06/06/06 "The Omen." It was a laughable and spoon-fed remake.

MINOR SPOILERS START HERE-- What we don't see in this film is the true bad seed. There is no evil incarnate. The story that is told, and in my opinion, very skillfully, is a sad but suspenseful drama. It is a parent's nightmare, but we also can see it as a child's nightmare as well. We never see Joshua with a knife in his hand. He never pushes his mother over a balcony. There aren't obscene dolly shots with the kid looking evil. No devil horns or tales of an occult connection with a past member of the family.

What made the film great to me is that we're almost spying on a couple that is trying to be the best parents they can be. Like any family, there is a history that comes with life. Rockwell's character comes from an affluent Christian family. His mother is a little overbearing. His wife has obviously had some tragedy in her life and mental problems are a hereditary problem in her family.

I think this film transcends genre and focuses on each character very well. The spoiler in my review is the fact that we never see Joshua acting in an evil way. A lot of the suspense is implied. The film can be read in many ways. Like a piece of music or a good piece of art, you can watch this film several times and each time you see it you see it in a different way. If you're trying to watch this as a horror movie, then who is really the villain? Who do you blame? What really happened?

I think this was a really well made film. There are many implied acts that take place, there is suspense and reasonable doubt into Joshua's actions. There is a lot that may have gone on that wasn't shown on the screen. That's what makes depth of character and depth of a story. Rockwell is our vassal into the events and we see it mostly through his eyes. It's a marvelous, yet tragic film. A film where character trumps genre, a movie that makes you second-guess yourself. It makes you look at the interaction of family, the complexity of life, the circumstances of chance, and the feelings of a child.

If any of you disliked this film because you wanted to see jump-cuts of gore, hear the soundtrack jump to high levels (so you know when to be scared) or just to see a body count, re-watch it and just let the characters tell their story. It's not a happy story, but Joshua's song at the end-- while disturbing-- is really telling of how a child might see the world that he's raised in.

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8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

This is a really good disturbing little thriller.

8/10
Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
17 May 2008

Joshua (Jacob Kogan) is a intelligent 9 year-old boy, who starts to feel left out. When his baby sister Lily is born, since it brings joy to his parents Brad (Sam Rockwell) and Abby (Vera Farmiga). When weeks has passed, the baby Lily can't stop crying and especially at nights. Which Abby turns depressing and she trying her best to raise her child. Since her husband works often in the city. Then the parents slowly realized that Joshua is changing and not for the better. Especially when Joshua starts to realized that his parents are not the loving couple, they seems to be and he is planning something sinister for his family.

Directed by George Ratliff made an fascinating creepy little thriller that is well-acted (Especially by Kogan & Farmiga as Joshua's long-suffering mother), well directed and it has some enjoyable suspenseful moments. This is an interesting character study of what it seems to be a happy family that goes terribly wrong. This has good supporting performances by Dallas Roberts as Abby's worried gay brother and Celia Weston as Brad's overly-proud religious mother. I haven't a creepy looking child like Kogan's performance in a long time and he is certainly eerie at times. But the movie does have its problems towards the last 20 minutes, which its raises more questions than answers. But it is one of those movies, you want to see again. It's certainly one of the most underrated films of 2007. Don't miss it. Written by David Gilbert and by the director:Ratliff. (****/*****).

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13 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

awesome

10/10
Author: sonofgodtrujesus from United States
23 July 2007

I can't believe the overall rating on this film was a paltry 6.0, thus it's obviously up to me to do all that is in my power to make sure this film get to at least a 6.5, or more on IMDb, seeing that this number represents my cut off point for what I'll view on film; unless, of course, I've seen the film and fallen in love with it before I've visited IMDb, then, my personal rating cut off point trumps IMDb, and I won't feel like I've just wasted 2 hours, the time it takes watch a movie while stuffing my face with popcorn. Joshua is one of those movies which I fell in love with at the theater, watching it twice, just because I wanted to see the closing scene just one more time.

This movie seriously reminded of a type of Exorcist but without the supernatural agency of evil and special effects which at times can confuse and reduce the art of film making to an amusement park theme. Joshua was just pure evil; no let me rephrase: If you ever wanted to know what pure evil is then Joshua represents the carbon copy definitive energy vibration of such a manifestation. Joshua, in time will be a cult classic, only its so dark I doubt if it will ever go mainstream, due to the fact that it utterly demonizes a certain group in our society, which I'm sure do not want the added label of masochistic & sadists.

Truly one of the most vulgar movies I've ever seen. Jacob Kogan did a spectacular job. I cant tell you how many times I wanted to kick some anti rational sense into this child until love manifested; first rate acting - my blood ran cold. Kogan should do some pretty good work if he can keeps his personality and mind together through puberty; a truly wonderful recruit to the film badboys, yea, weze baby, bop bop bop! The psychological dynamics of this film is what I found most interesting. the fact that a child can learn just about anything in our society even Sun Tzu warfare and complete dysfunctional passionate obsession, but not love, is the one great symbolic message in Joshua which rings true and resonated on my psyche most after watching this film. My new cut off for viewing films is 6.1 on IMDb thanks to Joshua.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Well, What Can You Possibly Say To This?

7/10
Author: Sophie0796 from United Kingdom
16 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well I wouldn't say this is the most thrilling film to ever be seen, nor the most horrific of horrors, but the certain cold chill that frames the whole unwinding story makes it truly intriguing. Joshua, the nine year old perfect son, that every parent could wish for passes through at the start of this film. He's a smart, obedient, piano playing, but somehow odd child. The family is happy, and well together. Once the newborn Lily arrives, you see from Joshua how much he resents her, but in some way he shows love to her. What made the first scenes right till the end very chilling and unpredictable, was the lack of speech from Jousha. This in my opinion made the movie much better. Once we begin to see how different this child is, due to what we never really understand. At school he exceeds in excellence, he plays the piano with such perfection. And as we gather he is a dark spirited child, portrayed by the other characters speech. Josha plays dark, death signing songs on the piano, noticed by the mother in law. He does not share a close proximity of a relationship with his father, and his mother never sees the interest. Their the kind of family that from a picture looks perfect, but when seen in action their flaws unwind. As the story unravels, we are lead to believe that the death of Innocent animals is due to Joshua, and the constant crying from baby Lily steers the poor mother to insanity, the father is left to leave his job and take the care. A few exceptionally chilling scenes for me and well thought out, from such a devious little boy, were the glass scene and the pram scene. When the glass breaks in the kitchen, Josha moves back, as knowing his mother will reach for him, she treads forward and of course as established on to glass, cutting a deep serge into her foot, which is the next step of her breakdown. However, we cannot say whether the child here is all to blame. One thing that really disturbed me, was when she began to smear blood up her legs and talk about her "sexy red boots" that to me really gave you that feeling that she was maybe even more "Mucked Up" that him, hence her illness. The pram scene was dramatic and we all knew what was coming, but i do believe that Joshua never intended to hurt Lily, he didn't exactly hurry to push her down a flight of stairs, he merely strolled outside and he knew that the mother in law was running behind, and of course i do think he knew the father was watching. I think that this was his intentional plan, to have the people watch, until he finally targeted the opinionated mother in law, and she is next into the coffin. What seemed obscene to me, was how little feeling the characters showed, when his mother was pushed (or so we assume) the father, did not show any emotion he merely clung to Lily and although we could see his hurt he did no show any signs of anger. However once with Joshua i saw the true side of his father that Joshua had been waiting to release. "I know what your doing Joshua, Im on to you," to me really made it seem as though they were battling men, not a nine year old son with his mental driving father. Over the film so many varied thrills happen, some leading to nothing and others leading to tragic breakdowns. The abuse scene with Joshua and his father really shocked me, i saw his fathers anger but he really went for it, with Joshua's evil mimics, shown several times over the film (e.g. when the dog died, he mimicked his fathers sadness) and when he was climbing and he repeated his father, he knew just how to push his buttons. Once the father had lost his temper what really gave it that final blow for me was the small sly smile that formed on Joshua's lips, he seemed happy, he had finally managed to make his family fall apart, and his father to reveal everything. This was a very well thought film, with similar story lines of older films, however this one had s more certain chill, less horror and more, dark edge. The final points to assume, were the way that Lily was never harmed, she in the viewers eyes was the reason for Joshua's dislike, however he never hurt her, or harmed her. Also the relationship with his uncle was mysterious and odd, he loved his uncle a lot more that he you saw with his parents, they shared a bond for music, both piano genius', whereas his dad was a pop music headphone listening kinda guy. At the end when Joshua sung a song as he and his uncle played a song, he said "this feels right doesn't it? how it should have been?" you get the feeling hes referring to it should be him as his father. As earlier he stated when his was in room to his dad, "do you ever feel weird about me?" we sense that Joshua did towards him, but never towards his uncle. A dark bond i never assumed to happen, but a very wicked ending with everything out of place.

Overall a good film, watch if your mature enough to understand the true depth of this film, and see Joshua as he begins to dismantle his family.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

has some similarities to Orphan,but i found it lacked the same intensity

7/10
Author: disdressed12 from Canada
14 March 2010

i had never even heard of this film until after i had seen Orphan.some of the reviews for that film and the message board had recommended this film.some had suggested it was a superior film.so i decided to give it a shot.i'm not sure i would call it a superior film.it has some similarities to Orphan for sure.however,i found it much more deliberately paced than Orphan was.Vera Farmiga(who played the Mother in Orphan)plays the Mother here and is a revelation.and Sam Rockwell is very good as the father slowly unravelling at the seams.Joshua(Jacob Kogan)is certainly an evil seed,there's no doubt about that.but i just didn't quite feel the same intensity as i did with Orphan.don't get me wrong.this is still a good movie.for me,Joshua is an 7/10

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Creepy movie that stays true 'til the end

7/10
Author: billyfish from Bogota, Colombia
1 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How refreshing to see a movie that is creepy all the way through to the end, without relying on some sappy supernatural "explanation" for all the evil. Joshua as a Machiavellian child prodigy makes mincemeat out of his unsuspecting and clueless parents (not to mention his grandma and uncle). This movie will raise the little hairs on the back of your neck again and again, and remains faithful to its premise, which is very refreshing in these days of the "devil made me do it" (literally) cop-out ending. The director makes us uneasy with the sheer evil and total absence of remorse displayed by Joshua, and it seems all the more terrible since his parents don't suspect a thing. There is a little religious mumbo-jumbo thrown in (Grandma takes Joshua to an evangelical gathering), but this is secondary to the plot and just demonstrates how the opportunistic child uses this weakness in his grandmother to further his destructive agenda.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Interesting but not too memorable

7/10
Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
18 April 2009

I had interest in watching Joshua,because I had read a lot of excellent commentaries about it.I had finally the opportunity to watch it and,although I liked it,I have to say it disappointed me a little bit.This is a solid movie but for some reason,I did not find it memorable.First,let's see the positive elements from this movie.Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga bring brilliant performances,which are full of details and which are absolutely natural and credible.I would have liked to see these two actors getting recognition for their excellent works.I also appreciated the ambiguity from this movie.I like to see a movie which trusts the spectator will be enough intelligent for taking out conclusions.Now,I have to mention the negative elements from this movie.I did not like Jakob Kogan's performance too much.I do not think it's bad but I think he should have been a little bit more credible and natural on his role of an evil kid.Plus,there are a few irrelevant scenes.I liked Joshua,mainly for the fact that it kept me entertained.But,with the exception of Rockwell's and Farmiga's performances,I do not find something special on it.In summary,a solid film,but not too memorable.

Rating : 7.5

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A mediocre slow psychological thriller

6/10
Author: anpgr from United Kingdom
29 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had high hopes for this film after reading reviews comparing it to the Omen but apart from the child's resemblance to Damien there is little more connecting these films. While the idea and plot is compelling there is no suspense and the film never reaches a crescendo while the storyline is unconvincing on several occasions. The kid's acting was pretty unconvincing too, however, I was pretty happy with the rest of the cast.

I didn't get the feeling that the kid was neglected by the parents, who had many opportunities to figure out that there was something wrong. Perhaps the most disturbing part of the film is the ending that was totally unexpected, and it may be worth watching the film just for this.

Overall the film is worth watching but don't expect to be thrown back - perhaps if you are a parent you will learn something.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Incredibly Crazy Movie

7/10
Author: tek8738 from United States
24 February 2008

It was enjoyable most of the time, though I don't think it's anything I'll watch again (so it'd make a good rent).

That said, it really shows the parents steadily going crazy with the problems of the new child, and the family slowly falling apart. Joshua's part is very well done and creepy.

While some of it is a bit slow moving, it is made up for in the parts that give looks into Joshua's mind. The horror parts are horrifying (being 16, I can only imagine how hard the scene with Joshua/his dad near the end is to watch for a parent). The scenes showing the family slowly falling apart are quite depressing, the horror scenes are quite horrifying, and the whole movie is very intelligent. Not a full on horror movie, but certainly worth the time it takes to watch it.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Devilish Greatness

8/10
Author: jpschapira from Argentina
12 July 2009

What a pleasant surprise. There are movies that know exactly the 'how', the 'when', the 'who' and particularly to whom. There's a way of making good movies, a way every filmmaker should consider, and that's the way of not leaving the viewer outside the story. Believe it or not, when the viewer gets involved (for better or worse), everything is better. We may want to stop watching the film or take their eyes off the screen, or shout, or whatever; but the important thing is something is working.

Director George Ratliff certainly knows this way, and in "Joshua", his first full-length fiction project, he exploits it: there are times, believe me, in which we become the characters. There's no big sound tricks, no more score than strong piano notes at the right moments (courtesy of Nico Muhly) and some weird noises. However, the impact comes from Jacob Kogan's face and his performance; always an important element if you want to make the viewer believe a little boy can be really mean.

Kogan plays Joshua, of course, and his role implies much more than a spooky face, a face that he doesn't even have because he's, although special, a normal kid. The script by the director David Gilbert never hides this fact and holds on to it to make accentuate the suffering of a family that's falling apart, that can't take it no more and that, we suspect, it might all be because Joshua intentionally wants to harm them. But we don't want to believe it, no one would want to believe such a thing, less so in a film where there's no prophecy from hell or religious implications whatsoever. In fact, Joshua hasn't even been baptized because his parents have different religions.

Brad (Sam Rockwell), a working man who wants the best for his family, and Abby (Vera Farmiga), a housewife who suffers a lot at home but won't accept that a nanny watches her children, have just had a daughter: Lily. If you must know how well Ratliff handles suspense, time in the movie goes by announced by the days of life of the little girl (and that strong piano note). The screen goes black and we read the numbers; sometimes only a few days have passes, sometimes weeks.

The timing of the director never fails, and the movie runs its time slowly but intensely. The elements of the house that once were so bright, start getting darker: the cries of Abby become louder, the hours at Brad's work become tougher, the social environment seems suffocating for a family that chooses to build their life at home, with the exception of dog walks in the park and occasional visits to museums. And I'm not telling you everything.

There are two key characters, played brilliantly by Dallas Roberts and Celia Weston, whose importance is (intelligently) not completely noticed. Then again, this is because we can't notice it. Ratliff handles the 'how' and the 'when' so perfectly because he knows how to handle the 'who'. We see Brad fighting for his family, constantly saying "it's okay, it's okay", and Sam Rockwell's work is fantastic because he plays such a nice guy that gradually turns into, well, Sam Rockwell (or the Sam Rockwell we've seen on screen so much); taking a very realistic and humane attitude towards the heavy problems going on in his own house. Then the focus changes, and it's all about Abby (Vera Farmiga's disintegration is also admirable), or it's all about Joshua; and that focus determines everything else. This way, the suspense works, and the 'to whom' also changes, with the constant and never forgotten provocation towards the viewer.

Answers? Hints, maybe, but nothing concrete. And as a viewer, a movie that defies me without helping me and also defies the standard genres, with the bonus of making me feel something, is more than I can ask for.

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