The Exorcism of Emily Rose
- Scott Derrickson
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is assigned to the case of Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) after the latter is accused of murder by negligence when a 19-year old girl, Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), died after he performed an exorcism on her. Prosecutor Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott) will try to prove in court that Emily was sick and could have healed with a constant treatment, while the defendant’s side will try to prove otherwise, in what may become a high-stakes battle between the spiritual and the scientific.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a movie about a trial and is based on a true story. I don’t know the real details that went on, but whatever licenses the writers and filmmakers took while telling their story I have to say it worked. The movie is an intelligent recount of a fascinating case told in entertaining fashion, as we follow Emily’s story in flashbacks as it is told on trial. This device works really well, because there’s suspense and horror to spare in Emily’s story, but the trial is just as suspenseful as anything happening in the flashbacks, and that’s a task for which the script and the good direction by Scott Derrickson must be credited.
There are two kinds of people in the movie: those that believe that demons actually exist and that Emily was possessed, and those who go for the medical side and find that there’s a logical explanation to what happened to her. There really isn’t one side to the story. Just as Erin says in her closing statement, there are no facts, but you have to concede that there’s a possibility. The movie certainly leans towards the defendant’s side, and uses this opportunity to create some supernatural suspense in some of the scenes taking place in the present. Some people will discredit this and say they went too far. I actually believe in demons, and I knew beforehand about a lot of things that the movie talks about. From my point of view, it isn’t too far from the truth, and that made the experience a hell lot scarier.
If anything, the movie is expertly acted. Laura Linney is superb as usual. We don’t know that much about her character as the movie starts, but we do see that there’s a transformation as the movie advances, and Linney brings credibility to every proceeding. The same goes for Tom Wilkinson, who doesn’t go for the saint approach sometimes given to priests in movies, but he plays his character as a real human being, with good and bad sides. Campbell Scott is the villain, if you may say so, and does a good job. And Jennifer Carpenter gives a shocking, physically-challenging performance that stays with you.
“Once you see the darkness, I think you hold onto it the rest of your life.”
CriticSociety en Twitter | CriticSociety en Facebook
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter