Despite what the naysayers say, Woman In Black was probably the last good one I saw. Not counting yesterday's film.
Title: The Awakening
Synopsis: In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.
Tagline: All the children are gone...except one.
Right from the first five minutes I was hooked. What can I say, I have a weakness for movies set in the past with strong female leads. Florence Cathcart is my type of character. A learned woman who travels around debunking ghost sightings while secretly wanting to be proved wrong. She has a certain Sherlock Holmes-y feel to her as she fiddles with ghost-catching equipment and runs through the house determined to disprove the sightings seen within the stark walls of the Rookford boarding school. She is equal parts brilliant, beautiful and tormented. And, as we all know, there is nothing more riveting than watching a tortured character unravel right before your eyes. She is portrayed rather breathtakingly by Rebecca Hall, who did flit across my radar when she appeared in The Town, but didn't make an impression until now. I do say, I have a crush on her.
While on the surface this is a ghost story about a woman who goes to Cumbria to investigate the sighting of an apparition that drove a boy to his death, but underneath it is a foray into the human mind and the misdeeds of the people we brush past every day of our lives. She is supported on screen by Dominic West, of The Wire and 300 fame, who plays the role of Robert Mallory - another person suppressing his demons and walking about riddled with guilt. There is a rather robust list of actors in this but the most notable for me was Isaac Hempstead Wright, better known as Bran from Game of Thrones. Isn't this kid just the cutest?
And he can act too. He conveys quiet uncertainty and oozes loneliness in this movie. You just want to pick up this boy and hug him. But I might be a little bias since I am a Game of Thrones nut. Here's the proof:
Less about the actors, more about the movie. Remember the other week when I was talking about twist endings and how High Tension wasn't a 'spot the clues' type of movie and that people were over-thinking it. The Awakening is the opposite. It is a 'spot the clues' movie and will probably be disliked because people won't catch them. Director and co-writer Nick Murphy does a phenomenal job with his subtle plot hints throughout. He is also very good at painting a very bleak picture. Shot in colour, he uses dark tones and grey hues to bring out the 'old fashioned' feel to the film. In this day and age, we are desensitized to gore. There is so much torture porn and hack 'em, slash 'em flicks out there, that we forget how awesome a good old fashioned spooky movie is. That sometimes less is more. And that our imaginations can be our own worst enemies. Don't worry, there is certainly a jump factor to The Awakening and it will get!
This movie is definitely going on my favourites list.