'Carrie' - performances strike a chord (Movie Review)
Posted on Jan 16 2014 | IANS
By Troy Ribeiro, Film: "Carrie"; Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Julianne Moore, and Barry Shabaka Henley; Director: Kimberley Peirce; Rating: ***
"Carrie" is a mother-daughter bonding film. It is packed with unusual expressive intensity and effective heart-breaking character arcs.
Director Kimberley Peirce's "Carrie" hooks you from the first frame itself with the cries of a heavily pregnant Margret fervently praying to her almighty to protect her in the hour of her need, followed by the safe unaided delivery of her child. But then the use of the unsterilised scissors purported to cut the umbilical cord offers a tinge of classic horror that ignites pathos for the innocent baby and events to follow.
Years later, the child, Carrie White grows up to be a muddled kid. Shy and outcast, she is torn between a progressive world and an over-protective fanatic mother. During her period of loneliness Carrie discovers that she possesses telekinetic powers, genetically transmitted through her father. She enhances her skills by reading the web and books about it.
Always edgy, she longs for a regular life at school and at home, but unfortunately normalcy eludes her. She rebels against her mother's diktat and extreme religious beliefs when she decides to attend her school prom with her classmate Sue Snell's boyfriend Tommy Ross. This sets the stage for a memorable magical night of dancing and violent revenge after a humiliating prom queen coronation.
Based on Stephen King's 1974 bestseller of the same name, Peirce's "Carrie" does not deviate from Brian De Palma's Oscar nominated 1976 film. Both have identical plot points inclusive of the pale imitation of one of the most iconic ace prom-queen "humiliating" scene in movie history.
Chloe Grace Moretz, with her grace and charm evokes sympathy as the small town, naive and ill-treated teenager Carrie. It's only during the initial scene in the headmaster's room after the traumatic shower room scene that she fumbles. Her reaction to the situation seems staged, but gradually as the film progresses, Carrie sinks into your system. You empathise with her and feel for her. She is sweetly effective, as well as menacing.
Julianne Moore as Carrie's mother Margret is a caricature. With a constantly unkempt disposition, grumpy attitude armed with a Bible and constantly praying, she gets on your nerves. Her disturbing performance is what is meant to be and that, she delivers effectively.
They are efficiently supported with Gabriella Wilde as the repentant Sue Snell, Ansel Elgort as her charming understanding boyfriend on one end of the character graph and on the other end Portia Doubleday as the devious Chris Hargensen along with her ruthless boyfriend Alex Russell.
They along with Judy Greer as the sympathetic gym teacher Desjardin, who rises to the role of Carrie's confidant and Barry Shabaka Henley as the ill-informed school headmaster, complete the high school atmosphere.
The screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is crisp and aggressive.
The audio-visual effects as well as the edits are good and contemporary. The most outstanding shot is the death scene at the end involving the shattered windshield. It jerks you out of your seat.
Overall, "Carrie" is not a classic, plugged with modern day horror cliche, yet it is worth a watch as it simply touches an emotional chord.