Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Director: William Peter Blatty
Writer: William Peter Blatty (screenplay and novel)
Starring: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson
So, there's this mental hospital for Marines (? - it might be more than just marines); and it's in a castle somewhere because this family decided to lend it to the Marines to use as they saw fit. But the person running it isn't an MD (or something) so this other dude who's the best psychiatrist in the service comes along to take over. He interacts with patients and forms some bonds and then the shit hits the fan.
booooring. i thought this was going to be a thriller about a mental institution. instead it turned out to be a philosophical conversation about religion and science. i know these two plots are very similar, but one appeals to me slightly more. have i said this was boring yet, because it totally was. moster dozed and i got work done on the table runner i'm making, but jesus, i feel i could have listened to a much better movie while accomplishing things.
On a high level, this movie makes no sense at all. The way the place is organized and how the fuck this other doctor would let super-psycho-patient let so many other minor-psycho-patients do all sorts of crazy shit doesn't even come close to the notion of "suspended disbelief." But, if you can get past that (which isn't really difficult because you don't learn about that stuff until the last ten minutes or so (though you might actually figure it out a little (or a lot) sooner.)) then there's actually something in this move that might be worth experiencing.
I'm not really a huge fan of The Exorcist; it all seemed way too convoluted and over the top. But this is the opposite. It's dark and "atmospheric" and often too close to boring. Low lighting even in the scenes which don't take place within the castle keeps the suspense at a low simmer for a long time, but this could be because of the production rather than the plotting (i.e. you can tell that the director is doing things to amp the tension but you don't necessarily carry any pathos for the characters). This is supplemented by excruciatingly reserved performances--Stacy Keach reminded me of HAL--which may very well have been directed by a narcoleptic crossing guard.
I don't know if I recommend this, but you could do a lot worse. It might be worth studying. There's probably a paper in the difference between this film and the more famous one.
ETA: Yes I dozed, but shmeh.