Greetings Spillios! Now, I know what you are all thinking... you are thinking that I have gotten real lazy and not keeping up to my promises of having loads of movie reviews up! You broke our hearts, where is the film critic love?
Well, 1... I have been very busy with University work... or at least trying to do work. A 4,000 Essay about the Authorship and Melodramatic elements of John Woo's 'A Better Tomorrow'
is a bastard to write and research!
2... I haven't really had the time to put up any reviews as of late. But don't worry, just for all you Spillios out there who care, I am going to spend all day typing out... Not 1, Not 2, Not 3 but 4 NEW REVIEW BLOGS! This is the first one... So prepare for an onslaught on movie criticism!
Here is my review on the 2003 Paranormal Thriller 'Gothika'
, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.
The film genre labeled as 'The Thriller' is one that has lost all meaning. The basic term of the Thriller means literally 'to thrill' the audience with either suspense, intensity or curiosity. The only problem is that it is too vague to pin-point it down as a single entity, so it is usually mixed with other types to create a sub-genre. Gothika
tries this... and unfortunately fails on all its attempts.
The film starts off with a promising concept for a psychological character drama where a professional doctor suddenly becomes an inmate of the same insane asylum with no explanation as to why. The cast is a start studded one with actors such as Robert Downey Jr, Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz. With such a great concept and a decent cast of stars to work with... Where did it all go wrong!?
OK, let us start of with the positives of this film. The cinematography of this film is very good, with each scene trying to bring out something new with the camera whether it is how its positioned, moved or reacts. These unusual or unnerving camera tricks work well in what it is trying to achieve which is a sense of unease. The film as a visual whole is a strange combination of mainstream direction with art-house cinema camera experimentation, all oozing with the simple colour scheme of blue and orange. So looking at a technical stand-point, it works and achieves what it wants to do. But everything else doesn't.
The plot, the acting, the way it is presenting the story... is terrible. Going on back to the theme of thrilling its audience, a good film can excite an audience without trying too hard to change the opinions or direction on the film. This film however bombards you so many multiple twists, turns and genre switches that you seriously don't know what is happening. Gothika
fails because it doesn't know what it wants to be or what it wants to say. It has no message or theme throughout because it is like watching 4 different movies starting itself off in different intervals. First, it is a psychological drama that could have made this film far more meaningful, suggesting how can society define insanity. This could have been a modern day One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
. But then, just as it is about to get interesting... it switches to very stereotypical J-Horror like Ghost Story with long haired dead girl along with the package! So at this point, you are somewhat confused. What appeared to be an intelligent drama suddenly becomes a cheap horror flick. But then... it blends this into a 'Whodunnit?'
Murder Mystery that suddenly changes into a classic Revenge movie. ... Excuse me, WHAT!? How can a film that started off with such high hopes crumble into something completely mindless? The connections into trying to link these 4 genres seemed rushed and not at all thought out, so overall it just becomes a mish-mash of a film! And the sad thing is, nothing in the film can be classified as 'thrilling' as the story never gives each segment enough time to be thrilling or tension filled or even interesting. It loses its pop and falls into a sticky sea of mediocrity and predictability.
All the acting talent (including Halle Berry who is famous for terrible movies like CatWoman)
are completely wasted here and some of the more interesting characters don't get enough screen time to standout. Robert Downey Jr tries his best to save the film using his strong presence but fails to do that due to the somewhat badly written dialogue and the fact that he disappears halfway through the film! Penelope Cruz... sure, she didn't grasp with the English Language well but her character was probably the most interesting one, playing an inmate who seems to be more sane than the doctors themselves... But then she practically gets knocked off and out of the picture. in an uncomfortable scene. Halle Berry just seems to be going along with it, hamming it up whenever needed and moving onto the next scene where she does the exact same thing.
For me personally, this film reminds me of a small hyperactive child who is in desperate need of getting your attention by showing you something he claims is new and exciting when really you have seen it all done before. It is passing itself off as intelligent but really it is dumb, frustrating and highly disappointing. The title itself is a clear cut clue as to how to describe this movie. GOTHIKA
sounds smart... but it has no connection to the movie or even an explanation as to what it means. That is because this film has not meaning or a clear cut point at the end. I'd strongly suggest you send this film to the naughty step and make it think about what it has done wrong.