Sunday, October 16, 2005

Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

*Sigh* "Nope not in this one..."

Action Adventure Horror Thriller

Starring: Stellan Skarsgård (Dogville; Dancer In The Dark), Izabella Scorupco (GoldenEye; Reign Of Fire)

Directed By: Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2; Cliffhanger)

Overview: The prequel to the original Exorcist, we follow a faith-lost priest turned archaeologist as he investigates an old buried church, all while ominous signs of the demon Pazuzu eke their way to the surface.

Acting: Stellan Skarsgard. You haven't heard of him right? Half of you (the good half) even if you don't recognize the name, will remember the man by the photos. He's in such awesome and riveting films and mini-series as Dogville, Timecode, "The Kingdom", and Dancer in The Dark. I'm surprised he chose such a role as this, because it's a step down from the elite Art-House film. Point being: see those movies,(I mean Lars Von Trier, come on) and know that he's the best actor in this whole production. He alone brings the rating up a full notch. The rest were good too, nice direction.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: I was rather impressed with this production. Some neat angles, some good effects, but really what impressed me most was the professional look of it, the expertise of the cropping and the appropriately placed panoramas and slo-mos. On occasion, yes a mite too bold in a Spielsbergian way (cramming symbolism down our throats), but overall, really nice to look at.
Rating: 8

Script: "You just want to put your rotten cock in her slimy ass!" This demon has such a potty mouth *GASP* The lines aren't as daring as the original, and you know what, nothing could be as offensive, given the context of the day and age. That was important. Every line of The Exorcist spoke volumes of a changing generation choosing art, shock and a frightening realism rather than covering it up with such fluff as Christians would have turned it into. Well enough of the social commentary. Pazuzu still can deliver the crass. Though this film is less about the dialogue than the plot, the lines have their moments.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is great! Not a fantastic and original twist ride, however the character development is pretty damn good, and Pazuzu is pretty good too. I liked it a lot. It's got a touch of Indiana Jones with all the Nazi stuff and the desert archaeology, but with real monsters and hauntings thrown in. There's even a nice little social commentary about British Imperialism. Overall, well rounded.
Rating: 7

Mood: The look is very desolate, very isolationist. It's a good theme that is relatively well maintained throughout and this combines with madness elevates the overall feel. The personal touch of having a broken ex-priest revisiting his own demons (which are realistic like our own, not drama horror stuff). Not a gore-fest like I expected, but something subtler, better, kinda like the first one.
Rating: 8

" Sir, simply because he's in black doesn't mean he's a demon.. actually that was the pastor"

Overall Rating: 76% (Not All That Spooky, But Damn Entertaining)

Aftertaste: The prequel as the fourth sequel. You think this movie's gonna blow chunks like Exorcist II (not in a good way like The Exorcist with the head spinning and the chunk blowing). I was impressed. Everyone I knew said it was garbage or "passable", and no way does it beat such lines as the original, but still I found this to be a nice little stand alone film and a pleasant tribute to the original, while still having our hero's character arc be fully realized. It's nice to have men with demons chase demons. It's cool.