THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
Review by Michael Jacobson
Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Jennifer
Carpenter July 22, 2008
Director: Scott Derrickson
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Features: See Review
Length: 122 Minutes
July 22, 2008
are you, demon? TELL ME YOUR
AM THE ONE WHO DWELLS WITHIN!!"
The Exorcism of Emily Rose, we find the ultimate combination:
it's an unsettling horror film and a tense courtroom drama in one. Then
consider it's based on a true story and an actual court case, and you have a
supreme achievement. This is a
movie that will frighten, engross, and move you all at the same time. It will have you thinking about it long afterwards.
In fact, it may seriously challenge what you think you know.
How many movies can say all of those things?
court case is a trial for negligent homicide, and the defendant is Father
Richard Moore (Wilkinson). The
charge: causing the death of young
Emily Rose (Carpenter) via a ritual Catholic exorcism.
Doctors believed she suffered a rare mental disorder; psychosis triggered
by epilepsy. Emily, her family and
Father Moore came to believe hers was a genuine case of demonic possession.
The doctors prescribed her medicine for her condition.
Father Moore advised her to stop taking it.
archdiocese arranges for a defense attorney, Erin Bruner (Linney).
They want the Father to agree to an easy plea deal to a charge of
reckless endangerment. The priest refuses. He
tells Ms. Bruner he's not afraid of losing his reputation or his
freedom...Emily's story MUST be told.
agnostic Bruner finds herself having to defend a client who believes in many
things she does not, and against one of the state's premiere prosecutors
(Scott), a man who DOES believe, but puts his faith aside in the call of his
duty. He brings medical experts to
the stand to explain away Emily's strange visions and physical manifestations.
Soon it becomes clear that Bruner has one shot and one shot alone:
argue that the demonic possession was real.
this been a work of fiction, it would have been an entirely captivating and
unforgettable story, but the fact that Emily Rose, Father Moore and the court
case were all real makes it a movie that grips you from the start and never
releases you. Director Scott
Derrickson has delivered a motion picture that dares to tread into some tricky
waters of all kinds: legal,
psychological, and spiritual, and manages to consider all points of view before
coming to what I believe is the ultimate personal conclusion about the matter.
film plays out largely in present day, with flashbacks incorporated to
illustrate memories and testimony. It's
a technique we've seen before, but to my knowledge, never to spin a tale of
terror, or one that opens up the Pandora's Box of existential questions that
many will find they can't close again once the credits roll.
other words, it's not a horror film per se, nor is it a John Grisham-styled
legal thriller. It doesn't follow
genres, but rather, uses them as a means of conveying what can only be described
as the ultimate philosophical arguments: do good and evil really exist?
Is there more to our lives than what we perceive with our senses?
And was Emily Rose in fact a tragically sick young girl whose visions
were merely Bergman-esque treatises on the failure of the concept of God...or
was her ordeal a universal wake-up call asking us to open our eyes to
possibilities we've never considered?
Moore has his opinion of the subject...and frankly, so do I.
You probably do, as well. People
from all over the world have responded to the tale of Emily Rose, and come from
everywhere to visit her grave.
the validity of weighty spiritual matters is certainly too much to ask from a
simple film. But the great movies
can certainly stimulate us in a way that makes us consider what we may never
have considered before. The
Exorcism of Emily Rose IS a great movie.
This movie looks
better than ever on Blu-ray...between the lower lit scenes and the bright, snowy
outdoor settings, the contrast level is amazingly crisp and detailed, without
undue grain or murkiness to mar the effect. Outstanding!
better than ever on Blu-ray...between the lower lit scenes and the bright, snowy outdoor settings, the contrast level is amazingly crisp and detailed, without undue grain or murkiness to mar the effect. Outstanding!
I'm still getting used to horror in TrueHD sound...the extra range of uncompressed audio makes for a truly chilling listening experience. The dynamic range is more powerful, and the subtleties give the picture an extra dimension of eeriness.
extras begin with a fine commentary track from director Scott Derrickson.
After that, there is a deleted scene, featurettes on the story genesis,
casting and visual effects, and some previews for other Sony titles.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose may change your perception of horror movies and courtroom dramas...and frankly, a lot of other things as well. This is one of the best films of its year.