The Others
directed by Alejandro Amenabar
(Miramax, 2001)

The Others is an absolutely incredible movie. Only too rarely does a movie come along that can absolutely stun you all at once with its implications. The ending of this movie absolutely caught me unawares, and in one single instant, before the movie even told me what was happening, a blow of shocking revelation hit me right in the stomach. Few movies deliver a personal epiphany to the viewer, but The Others does just that.

I cannot point to any part of the film that was not perfectly done. Nicole Kidman gives her best performance ever, carrying the audience along with her character's pain and confusion. The children play their roles remarkably well, with all the subtlety and believability required to make this movie succeed as a psychological masterpiece. The three servants were magnificent, although I did not appreciate the true greatness of their performance until the end. The house itself is very much a character in the movie, and the darkness, gloominess and vulnerability it projects into every scene is palpable.

There are surely great challenges to directing a movie with such an atmosphere and darkness and isolation, but not only did a 28-year-old Alejandro Amenabar direct a masterpiece, he also wrote the screenplay and composed the musical score. The music, without a doubt, greatly magnifies the effects of the increasingly tense, otherworldly atmosphere.

This movie was quite different from what I expected from the trailers I had seen. It definitely has the power to frighten and unnerve its audience, but this is so much more than just some kind of psychological horror. Anyone passing the movie by as just another haunted house story is robbing himself of a great experience. The DVD package contains a number of extra features on a second disc, and the supporting material does add depth and meaning to the movie's themes. Along with a look at the making of the movie, there is a feature on the rare disease the children in the film suffer from, an affliction so rare that there is very little awareness of it among the public. The only thing missing is an audio commentary of the movie by the director and/or actors.

This is really one of the best motion pictures I have ever seen and truly deserving of the critical acclaim it has garnered. The ending really hits you like a ton of bricks. Calling The Others a movie is doing it a disservice; it is a profound, unparalleled motion picture experience that you should not allow yourself to be deprived of.

- Rambles
written by Daniel Jolley
published 11 June 2005

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