Friday, 27 January 2012
The Exorcist (1973)
Film of 2012 #15
The William Friedkin Film based upon the William Blatty novel of the same name and is considered by many film fans as one of the best films of all time and at least the best Horror film of all time. I have actually had the opportunity to listen to an audio commentary by fans and a thorough analysis of the film scene by scene and this film holds up under direct scrutiny, yes like any film based on strange and unbelievable events there are holes if you look and prod hard enough but overall you can see past them quite easily. This film has also been described as perfect by some people in the film industry and I would not go that far but I think that the stories surrounding the production from how Friedkin got the end performance from Father Dwyer by slapping the actor just before shouting action to the fact that Ellen Burstyn complains about a bad back from being violently dragged about on a harness at the directors instruction and that the final scenes were filmed in a Freezer to get the effect of the cold atmosphere. Surrounding this film are so many legends that it is hard to remember that it is only a film and that the hype surrounding it can get to carried away.
So I was lucky enough to see this film in the cinema for the first time when it was re-released, possibly for the 25th anniversary in 1998 and I went with the knowledge that this film was the most shocking film and was banned for years. I was slightly disappointed as my expectations were to high but nearly 15 years later watching this film with more knowledge of film I have to say that I was drawn into it and was looking for the flaws and struggled and was pulled along with the belief that this little girl had gone from being a rosy cheeked child at play to a foul mouthed shocking creature due to the fact that some sort of demonic possession was taking place. I think the performances from Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn are fantastic and Father Karris captured what the film needed to from the Mother lost and alone having to turn to the church the last place she expected any help and getting a Father Karas a man whose faith was being tested to the max by the goings on in his private life. The titular character The Exorcist, Father Merrin played by Max Von Sydow is strange as you see him at the start but he only comes back right at the end but you can see he has faced the demon before and the little you get makes you want to see what happened before, from what I have heard none of the films that were prequels seem to touch what this film hinted at.
Overall I would not say that this film is perfect, I think as a horror film if you have any love of horror then you will watch this and be creeped out by it, the only people are those that cannot suspend their disbelief and enjoy a film for what it is. I rate this film as 5 stars it is a film that will be revisited in the future and I look forward to discussing it with people and hearing the other stories around the production and lore of the Exorcist.