Fine Acting, Standard History Lesson
Reviewed by criddic2 for Invictus at 2011-03-07 19:38:06
Clint Eastwood is a great director, and "Invictus" doesn't hurt that record. It just isn't a masterpiece like "Unforgiven," "a Perfect World" or "Million Dollar Baby." It's a solid effort about an interesting event in history. Morgan Freeman is ideal casting as Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon turns in a convincing performance as the captain of the rugby team Mandela uses as a way to unite South Africa. Worthwhile, but not great.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose stars Jennifer Carpenter as Emily and Tom Wilkinson as Father Moore. This movie is part courtroom drama and part supernatural thriller, but the combination is balanced. When Emily Rose dies after a failed exorcism performed by Father Moore, he is accused of negligent homicide and ends up in front of the judge. Erin Bruner (Laura Linney defends him. Thrills and chills will make you jump and the religious implications will make you rethink religion entirely.
Eastwood is in fine form as the anti-hero reluctantly forced by fate to defend the weak and oppressed. I found the lack of acting skills by the supporting cast distracting, but the storyline and Eastwood more than make up for this.
I'm still pondering why the film always held me at arms' length from its deeply emotional content. The characters tended to spell out their experience too much as they talked about it. The dialogue was a little too calculated for me. Explained emotion rather than raw, living emotion. The one scene that got at it for me was when Del Toro is coming down off a heroin fix and Lopez asks him several times what he needs, what she can do to help him. He tells her he wants "Chocolate" - and the next time she asks: "ice cream." These short exchanges communicate the longing, guilt, desperation and raw physical experience that draws a more striking response from the viewer.