Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review 235: "The Others"

" I'm beginning to feel totally cut off
from this world."

Spoiler Warning

Not the Ones from Lost

      The Others is a 2001 horror film that was randomly selected for review. WHile not hugely popular, the film is still known and remembered. Directed and written by Alejandro Amenabar (Agora), the film is set just after WWII and follows Grace (Nicole Kidman), who cares for her children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), who both are photosensitive to light. Grace is still waiting for her husband (Christopher Eccleston) to return home and get help from nanny Mrs. Mill (Fionnula Flanagan), groundskeeper Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and mute Lydia (Elaine Cassidy), when she begins to suspect that there are "intruders" in her home. As things start to get more and more unnatural, just who these "Others" are gets called into question.

Stop or this Mom will shoot. I'm sorry...
Another Island

      The Others is kinda a reverse Shutter Island. If you don't remember my review of Shutter Island, basically I felt as if the film tried hard, but failed because it's final big "twist" was so obvious, that the rest of the film became dull. The Others is a film where it only gets interesting when the final twist is revealed. The twist ending of this film is honestly a great big surprise. Sure, when it's ultimately revealed, it does leave more questions than answers, but the twist itself is so cool that I'm happy to ignore them. The problem is the rest of the movie is just so dull and lifeless. This was one of those movies I unfortunately had to split into two parts in order to watch it all. I watched the entire first hour and stopped. And I still found it really hard to want to go finish this film.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

      The film is directed really nice. It looks great. And Kidman is surprisingly solid in the film and holds the film together nicely. But the story is just weak. Without the twist to add insight, the rest of the film is just a slow burn. And it's a bit too slow. It feels like it's repeating itself in some scenes. Grace doesn't think there's ghosts. Then something happens to make her believe. And then she doesn't believe again. For no good reason I saw. And it's too bad too. With a little more build-up, this could have been really fun. It's certainly theatrical enough to be fun. For a film so subtle everywhere else, Grace and the kids often act really over the top, though it works. And the orchestra, again against the subtly of the rest of the film, strikes up very loudly whenever something dramatic happens. Some more of that would have at least made the film more interesting. But alas, what we actually get it a little too subdued for it's own good.

This is one weird Doctor Who episode...
The Verdict

      The Others is made infinitely better thanks to a stellar last minute twist that ranks as one of the greats. And the acting, music and directing all around seem to make the film out to be more fun than it is. However, the film strains so much to be subtler than it needs to be that the whole thing ends up becoming boring and repetitive. Despite the really excellent twist, I find it hard to recommend a mystery that a usually never cared to want to finish. A shame and waste of a good twist. The Others get 4 stars out of 6. 

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