Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Awakening

Rated R


STARRING: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead Wright



*PREFACE - As you peruse this article, your inner-monologue should be construed in a strong proper British accent. Bite your arm off!*

England. 1921. Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), an educated woman (for shame!), frigidly goes about her personal business of debunking ghostly hoaxes and revealing con artists. Enter Robert Mallory (Dominic West) who represents a boys boarding school in the quiet countryside of Cumbria. At this preparatory, the legendary ghost of a murdered lad is apparently responsible for frightening pupils quite literally to death. Robert invites Florence to assess the situation around Holiday. Tish Tosh.

Rebecca Hall is properly delicious. Enjoyed her work in both The Town & The Prestige. Dominic West is a right strong actor and attacked the block all over Centurion and John Carter. So, yeah, I bloody hell enjoyed the trailer for The Awakening. I predicted a well acted film at the very least and hoped that the story would be more than perfunctory. The Awakening did seem, in most aspects, well done. My queries before sauntering into the theater were this: Will tomfoolery of a preternatural or supernatural sort transpire? Will Tom Foolery show up at all; the cunt? How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!!

I'm not the blinkered sort of fellow that doesn't enjoy his spooky cinema with some sophistication and class. The Awakening is a high caliber film on all fronts. From Nick Murphy's crisp direction, stunning scenery, beautiful location, sets, costumes and spot on attention to detail, this period piece never misses it's footing. The Awakening is a class act film all the way around.

I'm personally taken with the attention to detail, especially in regards to the attitude of our characters within the context of the era. The shadow of the atrocities of World War I hang heavily upon the tapestry of our players motivations and emotional context. This aspect is not something that is easy to play as an actor. Regardless, the feeling permeates through the lens and is well accomplished.

The performances are strong here. Dominic West has been beyond solid in every film I've seen him in. Imelda Staunton is also a consummate professional and I've no doubt, could teach a master class on subtlety. Rebecca Hall anchors the piece and gives it a spark. She easily has the most screen time and never once betrays her character's complex emotional journey as Florence susses out the truth, often at her own mental peril.  I give special credit here to young actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who us American fans know quite well as Bran Stark on Game of Thrones. Without spoiling the lot, I'll say that he does an impeccable job with his character, who could have easily came off as an annoying whinging little prat. Instead we get a boy who we identify with that embodies a plethora of varied motivations. Cheers, man.

The story of The Awakening is somewhat of a different take on, or at least an idea in the same wheelhouse as, a couple of other films I won't name; again in regard to spoiling any tricks. I did enjoy the film overall and rather liked the plot. A gripe can be had that The Awakening is reminiscent of something else, so the experience overall was dampened in that regard. It's a case of previous movie knowledge desensitizing an audience and somewhat castrating the fright factor of the film. The Awakening has some issues in it's final act but it doesn't go all pear-shaped. It's a solid and entertaining film from start to finish.

The creepy vibe should have had it's knob turned to eleven. It was at maybe five.

Needed some suspense. Not much in the way of original scares either.

Not to be repetitious, but The Awakening doesn't set itself apart as strongly as it needs to from it's predecessors.

In a genre where the majority of flicks commonly go sixes and sevens and then hook a left into complete shite, the overall quality of The Awakening must be commended. Stone the crows, I don't give a sweet fanny adams about how many sods throw a spanner in the works coz it makes for entertaining viewing sometimes. However, I'm not going to pull your todger and tell you The Awakening takes the biscuit either. It's sharp as class. That's the point.

Rebecca Hall has an innately likable quality and I really dig her acting chops. Yeah, and she's straight fucking sexy too, so I dig those chops as well.

A smattering here, a smack in the gob there, a pool of plasma. Nothing too graphic to lose your lunch over. Pretty restrained and only in a couple of scenes. Not really necessary in this film.

The Awakening is worth a butchers on quality alone. You're not going to go arse over tit, but this flick is better than average. Rebecca Hall and Dominic West are fantastic leads here. If this film had come out about fifteen years ago, it would have kicked all of you cunts straight in the goolies. Alas, we are traveling a well trodden path. Don't let that dissuade you though. I wouldn't call the film stodgy. Giving The Awakening a go is like bumming an old flame; familiar, not earth shattering, but a hot knackering nonetheless. And you never know, she may even have a few new tricks up her sleeve. Also, did I mention Rebecca Hall?

No comments:

Post a Comment