The Exorcism of Emily Rose

From The Forum With No Name:

The Exorcism of Emily Rose seems like a sincere enough meditation on faith vs. science except for a couple of howlers that put it straight in the looney bin: we're asked to accept at face value the tesimony that a drug can actually prevent exorcism (anyone informed the New England Journal of Medicine?), or that a treatment is useless even if it hasn't been given sufficient time to take effect. I don't like Friedkin's The Exorcist, but at least that movie was careful to exhaust every scientific explanation; in fact, it's a doctor who suggests exorcism as a kind of psychological shock therapy. Not giving the scientific treatment its due is criminal negligence on the part of the people in the film, and lazy storytelling on the part of the filmmakers.

Maybe what does the film in for me, aside from Scott Derrickson's hysterical attempts at scaring the audience, is the suggestion that the devil is like some kind of supernatural godfather. Going to court against us, are ya? We're gonna get yer priest, we're gonna get yer doctor, we're gonna get yer lawyer too. Bullshit in the highest.

Linney, Wilkinson and Carpenter do okay. Campbell Scott is wasted as the devoutly religious prosecuting lawyer; he has early scenes where he hangs tough negotiating a settlement, but later on he's just pretty much just a one-dimensional legal baddie. They could have done wonders with his character.

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