Review of ‘The Exorcism’: Russell Crowe engulfed in guilt amidst horror film cliches.

In ‘The Exorcism,’ Russell Crowe takes on the role of Anthony Miller, a washed-up actor who joins a film reminiscent of William Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist.’ Still haunted by his wife’s passing two years ago, Miller finds it challenging to reconnect with his estranged daughter, who returns to live with him post her school expulsion. When his daughter (portrayed by Ryan Simpkins) calls him Tony, he insists on being addressed as dad.

The initial interaction sets the tone for the father-daughter relationship, though somewhat overtly. The narrative swiftly transitions to the movie within the movie, where Crowe portrays a priest consumed by guilt. Miller’s portrayal falls short of the production team and director’s (played by Adam Goldberg) expectations.

As the story progresses, Miller descends further into addiction, blurring the boundaries between his personal struggles and his portrayal of a tormented priest. While the premise holds promise, the film only partially capitalizes on it, laying a strong foundation but faltering in the final act.

Nevertheless, the movie offers intriguing moments, such as the captivating exchanges between Goldberg’s director character and Crowe’s actor, shedding light on the intricacies of the acting craft.

Notably, the director employs a methodical approach, exploiting the actor’s vulnerabilities to elicit the desired performance as per the script. The exploration of how he delves into Miller’s psyche to extract a compelling performance is among the film’s engaging aspects. Similarly, as Miller’s mental state deteriorates and his daughter grapples with discerning between a relapse and potential demonic possession, she turns to a priest (portrayed by David Hyde Pierce) for assistance.

A poster of the movie 'The Exorcism'

The priest suggests that maybe her father gets so absorbed in his method acting that he brings his work home with him. It’s interesting to see an over-the-top Hollywood horror film break away from the norm of using a priest solely for exposition. Russell Crowe delivers a solid performance in the movie until around the one-hour mark. However, as the film progresses towards the end, it becomes saturated with horror cliches, making many dialogues feel like empty words.

Even Crowe’s acting starts to feel like a distraction, blurring the lines between his real self and the character he portrays in the movie. Surprisingly, in ‘The Pope’s Exorcist,’ his mere presence and performance, accompanied by a subtle smile, managed to lift the film from its superficiality. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this film.

The screenplay by Joshua John Miller and MA Fortin introduces some confusing flashback sequences that complicate the storyline. The movie barely clarifies the relationship between a young individual facing abuse from an older man. The victim could potentially be a younger version of Miller, with the abuser being his father. However, due to the lack of clarity, it becomes challenging to grasp the full picture. The more these flashback scenes unfold, the more it feels like an attempt to add depth where it’s lacking, resulting in a disconnect from the characters during the climax.

Furthermore, the film’s downfall lies in its gimmicky approach to serious subject matter. ‘The Exorcism’ has the potential to serve as a poignant satire on the film industry, akin to how ‘Late Night With The Devil’ tackles television. It also holds promise in exploring the struggles of single parenthood within the horror genre, similar to ‘The Babadook.’

5/5 - (1 vote)

Jul 7, 2024 - Posted by filmygod - No Comments

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