Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Monday, February 25, 2008

Joshua (George Ratliff, 2007)

I have had the pleasure in the past few days to watch two movies that really creeped me out, something that doesn't happen too often anymore (after watching too many horror movies, I suppose). George Ratliff's followup to his 2001 documentary Hell House, Joshua, was the first of those. The titular ten-year-old boy, played to a t by Jacob Kogan, is the most straightlaced kid you've ever seen. His hair is always perfectly parted, his shirts tucked into his pants, his room immaculate, his piano routines practiced constantly. But he's the son of two more, uh, liberal parents, played by Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga. Even though he's in the stock market (I believe), he seems like a laid-back, cool guy. It's incomprehensible how these two people made this child, and so the movie opens with the birth of the couple's second child, an adorable, happy baby named Lily. Predictably, Joshua gets pretty jealous of Lily, and that's when the trouble begins.

Without giving too much away (because all I really knew about when I watched the movie was that it was about an evil child), this movie deals with post-partum depression, evangelical Christianity, and the power of creativity over one's life. Sam Rockwell is, as he always is, really likeable and sympathetic, even when his character is doing some questionable things, to say the least. Vera Farmiga is in full-on hysterical mom mode, but not in a campy way. And Kogan is just terrifying, in the best possible way. The script is actually well written, and there's a twist that I didn't see coming, but also isn't ridiculous. The movie ends with one of the creepiest freeze frames I've ever seen; I went back and watched the last scene with director's commentary on, and he said that he was skeptical about the editor's choice to end with a freeze frame at first, but he came to love it as a tribute to all the 70s psychological thrillers. That's what this film is at its best; a throwback to the 70s thrillers, like The Omen or Rosemary's Baby, but never a ripoff.


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Comments on "Joshua (George Ratliff, 2007)"


Blogger squagles said ... (10:22 PM) : 

sounds interesting. i love Sam "give my mustache a tug" Rockwell


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