The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Genre: Drama Horror Mystery Thriller
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Laura Linney (The Squid And The Whale; Kinsey)
Overview: This is the courtroom drama of a man accused of negligence. A lawyer defends the priest who tried to exorcise a demon from Emily Rose and failed. Is he guilty of her death?
Acting: This, and I'm sure I'll say it frequently, is a mix of good and bad. Let's begin by saying that the paranoia, the fear, the hopelessness of the portrayals were really good, top notch, yet they are offset by such poor courtroom scenes as would bring it down like a $5 bill waving in front of a Gladstone Street whore. That Judge needed to be recast flat out, she was atrocious. This is not a strong woman and she cannot grasp the strength needed to play a judge, there I said it. Even the experienced actor who played the D.A. It seemed like there were two directors to two different movies. The events of the actual case were awesome, the retelling in the courtroom however, piss poor.
Cinematography: The courtroom: bland, static pieces of standard fare at such mundane levels as would bore you to death. The images of demons, darkness and fear were so creepy that I actually shifted uncomfortably in my seat, terrifying stuff, really. The exorcism and those moments are terrific. The courtroom, boring enough to consider watching mold grow instead.
Script: The writer should have watched more "Law and Order". I can safely say, after having seen 6 or more seasons of the show religiously, there were issues that seemed more about melodrama than research. It's not hard to look at the actual transcripts and make them more dramatic, is it? It's not hard to run your script by a couple lawyer friends with an honest opinion, and I'm surprised that the producers, directors and everyone else in the line between writing and production let this go thought to final print as is. Piss. But the exorcism was great. The fear was written really well, though it could not elevate the predominant scenes of courtroom blandness. Should have stuck to his element.
Plot: The story was so good that they had to go an ruin it with a courtroom. It's unfortunate that The Exorcist was so specific as to corner a market so well that no one would be able to reproduce anything like it without being considered a rip off. In all fairness this is pretty much a true story, and it's also about an exorcism, and this will interest a lot of people, so there's points inherent, but they dwelled too much on the secular and not enough on the supernatural.
Mood: The movie did indeed creep me out, and for that I'll give it good props, but the believability factor of the drama in the day to day deliberation kicked it right in the nuts. Why did they have to dwell so much on the poor dialogue? It's the Jar Jar Binks of Fantasy and Drama. You actually almost dread when they go back to the courtroom.
Overall Rating: 68% (Much Lower Than I had Expected, Before AND After)
Aftertaste: This is one of those strange movies that has so many good elements intermingled with so many bad ones. Sadly this will not stand the test of time for more than a year, and you can mark my words: no mention of this with cross the lips of anyone in the Oscars, though I can't think of any horror that came close to actually ever winning one... Regardless, this is a bad courtroom drama and a really great Horror Thriller all wrapped into one. Like Full Metal Jacket, this can be considered one of the best-worst movies of the year, though with less staying-power than the worst of the Kubrick films. A touch disappointing.