Tuesday, 20 March 2012

From the archives: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

In the week that yet another crap exorcism related film (The Devil Inside) comes from a major studio why not check out this old review of another crap exorcism related film. From a major studio.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The version I watched was the 'Unseen' extended edition (not unbloodyseen enough for my liking).

To cut a long story short the movie addresses the thorny issue of whether a presented behaviour which is disturbing and contrary to normal personality traits should be viewed as a symptom of mental illness or evidence of something more profoundly spiritual resulting from an external source and that can only be addressed through spiritual means. It's kind of like the science versus faith debate at the core of the snoretastic scifi bore Contact.
Unfortunately it suffers from the exact same problem in that it falls firmly behind the churchy argument and totally demerits any argument to the contrary through an alarmingly glib dismissal in which our protagonist, a feisty female defence attorney who normally defends evil men, paraphrases the input from a shady doctor thus, "So someone who's crazy doesn't know they're crazy?", to which he provides a Eureka moment and thereby dismisses one hundred years hard earned knowledge of psychiatry. By this reckoning anyone classed as mentally ill, but displaying insight, can reasonably be argued to be possessed by the devil!

All of this hogwash wouldn't matter so much if the film didn't portray itself as a true story with a valid moral point of view. Sadly it does and, as such, stands as a monumental bucket of snot that, if anyone bright actually got suckered in by it, could set back the treatment of mental illness in less enlightened areas by a couple of hundred years.

Interestingly the story upon which the movie is based is that of a
European girl whose backwards family drafted in the local priest to exorcise the devil from her body, ultimately resulting in her brutal and tragic death. In Europe the tragedy of this case is generally accepted as a result of blinkered narrow-mindedness and ignorance of the realities of chronic schizophrenia. Amazingly the movie flips that on its head and declares that science and medicine are hopeless in the face of the demonic possession that can afflict anyone, anytime.

Utter, utter bullshit and a big fat zero out of five.

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