Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Awakening

Looks like I broke my New Year’s resolution regarding big gaps between posts -- gotta work on that. Even though I’m in the middle of my Nicholl script, I managed to squeeze in some time for a few quick words on The Awakening.

Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), author/skeptic/paranormal debunker, arrives at a boarding school to dispel the rumor that a ghost is responsible for a boy’s death.

The murder mystery angle works well and surprisingly gets wrapped up at the halfway point. It’s at this junction in the story where Florence begins to suspect that something supernatural is also going on. Unfortunately, this is also point where everything starts to become incredibly muddled and twisty.

You could make the argument that The Sixth Sense and The Others were the two worst things to happen to ghost stories. Ever since those films, there’s been this overwhelming emphasis on a huge, mind-blowing Third Act twist. The Awakening decides to up the ante by attempting to throw so many twists at the audience that they’ll end up with whiplash by the closing credits.

The best twists are the ones we should have seen coming. All the clues hidden in plain sight. On the other hand, nobody wants to feel hornswoggled because the film omitted or totally misrepresented certain story elements. It's quite the balancing act...

Some good performances here from Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, but the film simply tries too hard...

Friday, March 08, 2013


One of the better sci-fi films in recent years. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetics didn't turn out to be such a big distraction. This is probably old news, but Rian Johnson created a commentary track while the film was still in theaters:

Here's a link to a Jeff Goldsmith interview with Johnson:


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