Monday, September 29, 2008
El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
PHENOMENAL: (Juan Antonio Bayona) Laura is a young and fiery girl living in an orphanage with 5 other children. They are too old to be adopted and innocently pressing the patience of some of the employees. But Laura is the lucky one of her firends, and gets adopted at the age of 11. She never hears of the orphanage again, except that eventually everyone was gone and the house was left abandoned. At present, adult Laura (Belen Rueda) brings her family back to the house where her dream is re-open the house as a home for special needs children. Unfortunately, the house has others plans. Plans that reveal her little friends may have been poorly treated and their disappearance not to normal. Slowly, eerie occurances start to happen, noises in the walls, suspicious visitors to the house, and her son, claims to be friends with littel chuirldren no one else can see. For weeks Simon plays games with the children, doing scavenger hunts, playing hide-and-seek, leaving Laura avoiding the obvious, that these imaginary friends are her friends from the orphanage. The tipping point comes when her son goes missing during a masquerade party. They don't see him in the house, on the property, or even in the surrounding areas. Search crews find nothing and her husband loses hope. But, as a last resort, she hires a ghost whisperer, who uncovers a blazing tragedy from the past, facing Laura with the decision to stay in the house alone to solve the mystery the children have left for her. Her search uncovers the truth she was lucky enough to escape, and forces her to play witht he children as Simon did in hopes they will reveal his whereabouts. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth, The Orphanage follows suite with the same dark thematic and fantastic reality. Also similarly, The Orphanage places our main character in a state of mind questioning the line between fantasy and reality, ultimately leaving her to choose which state makes her happiest. The Orphanage seamlessly pulls together the story of Laura's love for her past and for her dreams, but easily opens the door for thrilling possibility. Expect to hold your breath as you watch grown-up Laura initiate a chilling game of tag with the ghosts, hoping to get answers in return for playing. Shaking, she knocks three times on the wall until finally she turns around to see 5 little children frozen in position, waiting for another knock to move forward. It is the best scene I have ever seen, and established the precedent that The Orphange is more than just a scary movie, it is a phenomenal ghost story that tests love and sanity with passion and brevity. Scenes like this appear throughout the film, never letting you get comfortable or bored, and constantly questioning what is real and what is not. The Orphanage is powerful, intelligent and overall genius. Don't miss this bone-chilling experience.