Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Idiotic Reviews

I'm typically not big on name-calling on this site, because I understand that not everyone thinks the same way that I do and that my tastes are often idiosyncratic. This time, though, I have to say that every review I have read of The Exorcism of Emily Rose is dead wrong: it is an excellent, thought-provoking movie, and the reviewers who think otherwise need to step outside the echo-chamber for a minute.

First, there is A. O. Scott of the New York Times. Mr. Scott has perfected the art, and exhibits his skills in his review of Emily Rose, of simultaneously arguing that the expectations for horror movies are low and yet concluding that somehow the reviewed film manages not even to meet those meager expectations. However, the main problem of this particular review, and Mr. Scott's whole view toward the movie, is encapsulated in this quote: "Father Moore knows what he saw. So do I: propaganda disguised as entertainment."

What a load of crap. That statement comes at the end of a review that is generally bland and devoid of any reasoning that leads up to such a conclusion, other than a snide reference to intelligent design. I have no truck with the intelligent design folks, and neither do millions of other Catholics who find a way to believe that religion and science can coexist. So what is Mr. Scott saying? Basically that a movie, a horror movie no less, that has characters that argue and/or suggest that the possession at the center of the movie was actually a supernatural event is propaganda.

But the movie was not propaganda, and a person not blinded with religious bigotry would have seen this. In fact, the courtroom scenes were full of details that would refute much of the evidence that supported the supernatural thesis. I won't go into the details so as not to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, but my point is that the movie proceeds much more along the lines of a conversation or argument about the supernatural versus the medical explanations for what happened. The setting is dramatic, and of course the movie is more sympathetic to the accused priest, but the argument is certainly not one-sided. It is simply not propaganda.


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