Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
Last Thursday I saw The Babadook in the brand spankin’ new (well, it’s three years old) IU Cinema, which is a very old stage at the IU Auditorium converted to a state-of-the-art cinema experience. Best Dolby/THX I’ve ever heard, and very comfortable seats. 😉 And this is a film you want to watch with an excellent sound system, because the sound work is fantastic and a significant part of the plot.
This is an Australian horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent. I hate her, because this is her first feature, and it is being lauded as “one of the best horror movies of the year, maybe of the decade”. I can tell you now that, yes, this is a damned creepy film. You know I’m a wienie, and my eyes kept trying to close but I forced them open (not kidding). I’m glad I did because even the reaaally scary parts are beautifully shot. Because it’s not a man-made Hollywood film, it looks different than we’re used to, adding to both the beauty and the creepiness. There are some nods to recent horror movies, like the Paranormal Activity series. Normally I’m not much for nods, but Ms. Kent uses them nicely.
Essie Davis plays the widow Amelia, whose son Sam was born the day his father was killed in an accident. To say this has messed them both up on a grand scale is an understatement. Amelia is exhausted, still grieving almost seven years later, and conflicted about her messed up son, played with redrum-y annoyingness by Noah Wiseman.
The plot takes its time getting going, because there’s a lot of emotional baggage to unpack and examine. This makes nearly the whole movie difficult to pin down, and the ambiguous nature of the plot is one of the reasons it’s so powerful. Essie Davis is phenomenal, and no wonder a friend has been telling me to watch her in Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries. Noah plays Sam as the poster child of so annoying you want to kill him yourself, loving, and heroic little boys. I hated the character, but the actor is fantastic.
A word about the end of the film. The movie will get in your head, even if it turns out to be not your cuppa, and I’ve seen a lot of interesting discussions about it on-line. M and I, for instance, had completely different takes on the end of the film, and on-line I quickly saw two other entirely different interpretations from ours, including a lot of people who didn’t care for the film because they took the end at face value. Me? I’m unconvinced you should take it at face value, but I could also agree to any number of ways on what the meaning might be. Told you it was ambiguous. Genius, if you ask me. (I didn’t tell M this, but as we parted ways on the steps of the cinema, I overheard a gaggle of college girls talking it over. Mostly they were just really happy they didn’t live in a house with a basement.)
Go and see this if you can catch it on the big screen. Otherwise, take it to a friend’s house if they have Dolby, turn off the lights, and hang a big coat in a dark corner before starting the disk.
BEGIN spoiler – pretty major
The one thing that SERIOUSLY pissed me off was they killed the dog. Not only to I hate when they kill the dog, but it was made even more horrible with the unfortunately great sound effects.
END spoiler – pretty major
CFR: In Addition: Oh yes this was good. I agree with Mildred about everything. It was creepy and I am so glad that she invited me to go with her to see. Loved it! Such a good movie. So well done in every way. Plus I love Essie Davis and it was great to see her carry and command the screen in this role. Hubby and I are fans. 🙂 I also look forward to seeing more work by director/writer Jennifer Kent.
Now here is where Mildred and I disagreed: The ending. The ending is interesting and can be interpreted in many ways. Mildred, Hubby, and myself all had different ideas about the ending. We discussed it standing outside in the January cold. That is another indication that the movie is good: You want to talk about it afterward.
Go see it.
Oh and goodness yes!! The IU Cinema has FANTASTIC Dolby sound AND GLORIOUS image rendering on the screen. Go see things there just to enjoy the great tech.