Friday, November 6, 2015
Crimson Peak (a movie review post)
Of course, the thing that stands out most is the ghosts. Or, maybe, the house. The house is pretty amazing. But the ghosts are freaky and cool. And, well, there are issues with the house that take away from its "cool" factor.
So, yeah, ghosts... Because it's a Gothic thing, and you have to have something supernatural in Gothic things, right? Evidently. Except for Wuthering Heights. That one gets by on tragedy alone.
I really wanted to do this without spoilers, but I'm finding myself unable to, because I'm going to just go ahead and say this, so... SPOILER ALERT!
The problem with the ghosts is that they are just a sleight-of-hand, which, in-and-of-itself is fine, I like sleight of hand, but the movie pretends to be a ghost story, and it's not that. It's a story with some ghosts in it. There's a huge difference between those two things. These ghosts are no more than props. To say this is a ghost story would be like trying to say that something is a chair story just because there happened to be some chairs in it.
But they do look cool. The ghosts, not the chairs.
Then there's the house, which also looks cool, but there are so many problems with the house that it drags the movie down into stupidity much like the house is sinking into the clay on top of the peak. Because, you know, the clay is so soft that it can't support the weight of the house but
1. we're expected to believe that someone built a house on clay that soft to begin with.
2. we're expected to believe that a mountain made of oozing clay would even exist.
I could go on with issues around the house (like the huge hole in the roof that exists only so that leaves can aesthetically flutter down around the characters (while they are inside) throughout the movie), but let's just stop there and say that the house broke my suspension of disbelief.
Beyond that stuff, the story is pretty formulaic... in a Flowers in the Attic sort of way. The ghost stuff is just there so that you won't see what's actually going on. You expect a supernatural story. Like I said: sleight of hand.
The acting is decent. That's about all that can be said about, though Tom Hiddleston is quite charming, which is good, because that's exactly what he's supposed to be. Jim Beaver is also good as Edith's father, but, really, it's the same sort of role he always plays, so you can't say he was any better than usual. Jessica Chastain was also pretty much as she always is, cold and somewhat aloof. I'm not sure at this point if she's capable of anything other than that. And Wasikowska... well... she's not bad. But she's also not good. She just kind of is. I find her mostly bland.
So, yeah, I want to like this movie. The use of the ghosts is almost very clever, and, again, cool. But the places where logic and sense are sacrificed to what looks cool are just too plentiful. I can't turn my brain off that much. It's not a movie I'll ever willingly watch again because, now that I've seen it, any other viewing will cause me to be irate at all the dumb.