Monday, July 27, 2009
Orphan opened up this past weekend and I caved in and went to see it. Now, I normally don't go to the movies because I'm broke, yep. Despite the ads you see and the constant linking to Amazon.com I make no money from any of my endeavors and therefore I can't afford to go. However, this weekend I splurged and went.
Orphan, on the surface, has a simple plot. A family adopts a little girl, she begins to grow psychotic, and bad things happen. Not too unlike many other orphaned kid horror movies from the past, only this one has a twist in the third act.
The trailer for Orphan was taken away due to copyright...i hate the studios.
The movie takes a long time to build up. The opening sequences are pretty raw, focusing on a parallel diagram of sickness of child birth, mixed with blood amidst white walls and floors, streaking through the thick substance we are introduced to this nightmare for the main character, only to realize that it is a dream.
The film progresses and we see that the family unit is getting a third. She's an awkward foreign child and seems to be a nice fit. She goes through some growing pains, and it appears that she's not exactly too liked by her new surroundings. She quickly befriends a little girl, her new sister, who's deaf and they turn out to be friends amidst incredible odds.
The story is not too unlike the film The Good Son, which I reviewed a couple of days ago. The film in fact also shares a common thread with The Changeling as the director focuses on the turmoil between the parents coping with their marriage and a new child in their family. The film, as stated previously, takes a long time to set up the third and fourth acts, and really could find a lot of people bored with how the film goes. There are some nice gore sequences set up for the purpose of killing the mundane, but if you're not into the film by the halfway point, the twist won't matter.
The twist is tremendous. The family finds out about their little girls past and realize that she's not so little and she's not so innocent. The transformation between psychopath to super human begins and we are treated to a frantic fourth act with a lot of careful plotting left behind for a more intricate bludgeoning.
The film fails in a few moments. The drama that is built in the family is recognizable to me. I understand the complexity of the human emotion and how marriages can sag and struggle through near divorce. The horror elements are an after thought to me, and therefore the payoff isn't that great towards the end. I do appreciate the attention to sound design as we hear crunches, bones breaking and a lot more when the time comes.
I didn't think that the twist and story made sense, but I liked how it was handled. I didn't like the cinematography of the violence in the end. It seemed like the camera went from nice overall tones to frenetic "Crank" style camera, shaking and jostling the viewer to get a reaction that wasn't really there.
Orphan is quite good, however, it is longwinded and the pay off is mediocre. Artistically I loved this film. I thought the images were beautiful, the shots were carefully placed, and the end credits were very lovely. I appreciated it the art and the amount of work that was put into setting things up, but the execution of the final horror elements didn't do it for me. Plus, the twist...oh man...you'll either love it or you'll hate it. I am going to say I loved it, but only because I didn't really see it coming, maybe I'm losing my touch.
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