14 March 2013

Woman in Black

Woman in Black (2012)
  • Director: James Watkins
  • Based on Book: Susan Hill
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciaran Hinds and many more
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Daniel Radcliffe: Hmm, let’s see if I can remember where I’ve seen him before…
    • Janet McTeer: As You Like It, Velvet Goldmine
    • Ciaran Hinds: Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part 2, Margo at the Wedding, Hallam Foe, Road to Perdition, Jane Eyre, Cold Lazarus
  • Why bought: Daniel Radcliffe
  • Seen: October 26, 2012

Scarier, sadder, more tragic, and better than expected.  It didn’t take long for Harry Potter to disappear from this movie. In fact I don’t think he showed up at all, except maybe in the voice now and then.  From the first view of Daniel Radcliffe’s weeping face any doubts were silenced.  This character was a grieving widower, a loving father. Convincingly.  To the very end of the film.
Which, as noted above, is scary!  In true gothic fashion there is an enormous isolated mansion with dead trees, pouring rain, mysterious noises, creepy dolls and noisy mechanical toys and poor Daniel Radcliffe being scared half to death all by himself in this house.  Me too. I half-screamed out loud a dozen times and it was lucky Hal was there watching it too or I wouldn’t have dared to watch the rest.
That was the first hour.  Then the story emerged. In this remote English village children die.  It all has something to do with the mansion to which lawyer Radcliffe is sent to investigate for wills and other documents.  The woman in black of the title is the ghost of a woman whose child has been taken from her and who dies. Radcliffe’s little son is on his way to join him. Scariness turns into another kind of suspense. Deep sadness and grief permeates the entire film.  The ending is not a happy one.
Would I have bought and seen this movie if it hadn’t been for Harry Potter? No. Is Daniel Radcliffe more than Harry Potter? Oh, yes.
It’s gratifying to have one’s expectations so completely surpassed.

4* of 5.  Why not 5? Because it’s a ghost story.  Is that a fair reason? Maybe not.  Maybe 5* of 5. 

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