Wednesday, November 23, 2011


By s. Wednesday, November 23, 2011 , , , , , , ,
86/100 (123 min, 2009)
Plot: A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: David Johnson (screenplay), Alex Mace (story)
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman

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The tagline reads 'There's something wrong with Esther' and that pretty much sums up everything - little girl is taken from orphanage to live with the nice family. But that little girl is so disturbing, does things so unthinkable that I think she is the only psychopath who could challenge Patrick Bateman for a fight and actually stand a chance at winning it. She is capable of committing murder in cold blood, attacking others, even endangering little child's life.

The character of Esther is played by, then 11-year old Isabelle Fuhrman. That was the best performance given by a child I've ever seen - I have no idea how she did that. Esther is also one of the most interesting movie-psychos all around and I'm sure girls dressed as her during Halloween back when the movie was in theatres. In many reviews people wrote she is creepier than Damien in 'Omen'. I agree - the scene with Russian roulette especially froze my blood. Esther was originally written as having fair skin, delicate features, and platinum blonde hair. Isabelle Fuhrman doesn't look like that at all. However, the filmmakers, understandably so, were so impressed with her auditions that they cast her anyway.
Esther is becoming more and more malicious with every single moment. Born manipulator, she is completely unpredictable, clever and determined to destroy family that adopted her, especially Kate - who recently lost her baby girl and because of her drinking problem nearly let another child of hers die. The whole movie is basically a standoff between Esther and Kate - Kate, being ironically on weaker position - her husband sides with Esther, assuming as all of us would, that kids are incapable of doing truly horrible things. Kate on the other hand is completely powerless - how do you fight with a child, that despite innocence appearance has evil in her soul?

What's great in this movie is that, although it may appears so in the beginning, no satanic powers or supernatural stuff are incorporated - there is logical explanation for everything in the film, brought in as - of course - plot twist, which is exceptionally well-presented. The twist also provides who new level to the film and insight in Esther's character. I do not think anyone can predict what is really going on until they actually see the shocking sequence in which we find out the truth.

I was amazed how moving and emotional the film was - every character has something going on, the mother lost the baby, the little daughter is deaf, the husband cheated - there is so much drama here and a sincere feeling of looking for closeness. I was very sympathetic towards Esther too - her case is so tragic, when the viewer actually tries to imagine what is she going through. She is a deeply disturbed person with serious mental problem, but life had been harsh on her - in her own mind she is just trying to adapt. And of course - she pathologically needs to achieve her goal.
The movie features nice, atmospheric music and wonderful cinematography - the story takes place in the winter, which greatly aids in creating the atmosphere in the movie - the isolation is everywhere, in true terror hides in the house, surrounded by snow nearby frozen lake. The acting is very good - Vera Farmiga shows she is an excellent actress yet another time. I'd probably give "Orphan" 90+/100, but there are some cliches here - the heroine looks in the mirror, than looks again and there's someone behind her, creepy paintings (with the exception of Esther's art - her paintings are so freaky that I think every psycho who saw the film will copy this idea in his/her room) and of course the deadly hide-n-seek near the end. However I really recommend this movie - this is, in my opinion, the second best movie of 2009 and for me - instant classic.

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