Links of Import

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black is about disturbed Edwardian women. And disturbed Edwardian men. And death. I don't know if the Edwardians loved death as much as the Victorians did, but here's a fun fact: Victorians toured graveyards on the daily like they were parks. Probably because those graveyards were A) beautiful with cascading willow trees, dirt pathways, and all that graceful Victorian stuff, B) Deaths were more common, especially earlier in the century.
Greenwood Cemetery, 1899. It's still very walkable and looks just the same. Took me a moment to decide this was not a reenactment.
And this movie is all about death. The hero of this story (Kipp) is left a widower when his wife dies in childbirth, giving him an adorable son. The Woman in Black is all about death and children, but I can't honorably give any more information about that as a reviewer, because the movie is pretty predictable when it gets going. The basic premise is that Kipp leaves his four-year-old son for a couple of days for work and, since he’s the most frequently employed and least exciting kind of lawyer, he’s off to a town to take care of a deceased woman’s paperwork. And that is that on the plot. No spoilers allowed, even if it won't spoil much once you get a majority of the way in. The best part of the movie is the mood.
I like blue-filtered, quiet films, so as far as filmography goes, this was right up my alley. The whole film is somber and wet. So. Much. Wetness. It rains constantly, the central death in the movie involves water, and mist swamps the whole town. 

"How can I not be happy surrounded by mold, mud, and those slugs that come out in droves when it rains?"

The main setting, the deceased woman’s house, is far out at sea and surrounded by mud and sand. In one horrifying consequence of owning a mansion in the ocean, the tide regularly floods the one pathway leading out of the house and traps the residents inside. I’d be bummed out too.
666 Middle of Nowhere Castle on Save Me Ave. and God No st.

You’ve probably already noticed that Daniel Radcliffe stars as Kipp. He’s a solid actor, but Radcliffe looks really young. I don’t believe for one moment that he's lived long enough to produce a 4-year-old toddler AND be that world-weary.
Look at those cherub faces.
He was 23 at the time of filming and yes, I know it’s acting and Hollywood casts 30-year-olds as teens, but as an audience, we’re used to casting agents going older, not younger. So, it did pull me out of the story a little. Also, it's Daniel Radcliffe (sorry, Danny). I’m part of the Harry Potter generation, so I will always see him as a wand-wielding wizard at heart. It may take another twenty years of movies to change that.

Overall, it’s a solid flick with a few good jump scares, and if you like moody period films with supernatural leanings, I’d check it out.