From Webster's New World Dictionary, Paperback Edition 1995 (4th definition)
Gothic: a type of fiction that uses remote, gloomy settings and a sinister atmosphere to suggest mystery.
Well, using that as a measuring stick, The Others is as gothic as can be.
And wow, it's a great treat.
Being the self professed wimp that I am, I was nervous about what to expect from this movie.
The ads made it seem like a creepy thriller, but I was wary that it would become a modern horror film with all the cutting, slicing and dicing, and no substance whatsoever.
Then I started reading up on the movie, and started reading comparisons to the original version of The Haunting from 1963 (not that abominable piece of shit released in 1999). The classic is a great, black and white movie that didn't have any special effects but still managed to be extremely atmospheric and creepy.
Suddenly this movie seemed to be worth watching.
Well, it is worth watching!
In fact, I've already seen it twice, and was still thoroughly impressed after my second viewing.
Set in 1945 England, but entirely in or around a gloomy old manor, The Others proves that what you don't see can be much more frightening than things that jump out and say boo. I can not say enough good things about this young writer-director, Alejandro Amenabar. He has created this riveting, tense film where light is the enemy and to top it off he even composed the moody music that moves the piece along brilliantly. The camera work is slow and methodical and just flows smoothly, enthralling the viewer. Just brilliant work from this "kid" making his English language debut.
The acting in this film is incredible.
Nicole Kidman gives what I definitely feel is her best performance ever.
She runs the gamut of emotions here, and does so perfectly.
I'd recommend her for an Oscar, but nobody listens to me...
She also has this air about her…sort of like classic Hollywood glamour, which let's face it, just doesn't really exist anymore. Still she has tons of it, and even in desperation, she still looks dignified. She's never been one of my favorites, but in this film, among all the darkness, she is simply luminescent.
I hope she can get through the ugliness going on in her personal life, and become a significant leading lady in Hollywood.
Fionnula Flanagan plays Kidman's new servant, Mrs. Mills, one of those motherly yet stern and authoritative nanny types. Her quiet demeanor is perfect for the role.She too has a certain sophistication about her, and although she is older now, I actually remember her in a film from the Seventies or early Eighties in which I found her rather attractive.
My favorite characters in The Others were Kidman's children, Nicholas and Anne, played perfectly by James Bentley and Alakina Mann. These are impressive children!
No Hollywood cuteness here…these are two fine actors in pretty demanding roles.
They played off each other like seasoned veterans. Just amazing.
The Others is just awesome movie making and story telling.
I wouldn't say it's perfect, but nothing ever is. Maybe under heavy analysis, some things might be suspect, but in this case, just let that go.
This is a rare classic in the making. Just enjoy it.