Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: The Beast Reviews: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Beast Reviews: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Somehow I missed this film at the silver screen and finally got the opportunity to view it. I have never been a fan of possession movies. Typically, they are poorly directed, poorly acted, and end up being a comedy more than anything. Emily Rose is an exception.

The story, based on true events, is about a girl who gets a scholarship to college, apparently something very different for her farming family. While at the school, she begins to experience some strange phenomena. Doesn't take long before everyone realizes she is flat out possessed. The family priest is called in for help and he does everything he can to help her. She ends up dying and the priest is indicted for neglect in the cause of her death because he recommended she stop taking a medical treatment that was prescribed for epilepsy and psychosis. In the end, the priest is found guilty, but the jury recommend that he serve no time. The judge accepts that recommendation and announced the priest "guilty, you are free to go."

The strength of the film is found in the portrayal of Father Moore by Tom Wilkinson. You might know Wilkinson from his role as General Cornwallis in The Patriot starring Mel Gibson. This is an actor's actor and just an obvious gentleman. He takes the role seriously, brings credibility to what can come across as nonsense, and leaves the viewer wishing that he was their local minister. The combination of courtroom drama with the flashbacks to Emily's story works well. There are legitimate scares and Jennifer Carpenter does an amazing job as a possessed Emily Rose in making her body do all kinds of weird things that really freaks you out.

Ultimately, what makes this film interesting, is that the religious element that undergirds the entire story is not hokey. There are a couple of confrontational moments between the demons in Emily and the presence of Christ that had me on my feet with my fists clenched. The film correctly portrays two important elements of this kind of confrontation: 1) Despite the confidence, boldness, and aggressive behavior of the demons, they always acquiesce to the presence of Christ. The first great example is when Rose, speaking through possession, says "I am the one who dwells within." Father Moore replies, "I am the one who comes in HIS presence." The demons attempt a quick comeback, but then quickly flee from that kind of presence. Then, during the actual exorcism, Father Moore, throughout he direct command of Christ, compels the demons to say their name, and it appears that Moore is gaining the upper ground, but must leave Emily momentarily to help his friend who had been injured, which caused the exorcism to fail. 2) The demons can quote Scripture. I thought this was a great asset to the film and is very Biblical. As Father Moore would be quoting Scripture, the demons would follow right along and even take the lead, seemingly in a sarcastic tone, but nonetheless shows their knowledge of Scripture. It is a solemn reminder that even the evil forces know God and are familiar with His Word. The latter of which most church members are weak.

This is just a good film all the way around.
The Beast Rating: 3 out of 4 Paws