GOTHIKA      -  A  Narada Film Review

  PENELOPE CRUZ     
  as  Chloe Sava   
     
   HALLE BERRY    
   as Miranda Grey   
     
   ROBERT DOWNEY JR    
   as Pete Graham
GOTHIKA - 2003   - Mathieu Kasovitz -Director  &   Robert Zemeckis -Producer
    What's in a title?  We were all asking the same thing; what does the title GOTHIKA have to do with the film?  More to the point, what does it mean?  The closest you are going to come is 'Gothik', which is a British spelling of 'gothic'.  One definition of 'gothic' is "the use (in literature) of violent, mysterious and macabre incidents."  One assumes that Producer Robert Zemeckis thought that adding an 'a' at the end might make the word itself a mystery.  It worked - as spelled, it has no meaning, and it does remain a mystery as to why they ran with that title.
         Although GOTHIKA employs a short-list of off-the-shelf fright-schtick, Kasovitz didn't overdo it.  The film didn't quite become another of Narada's Crappy Horror Films.  Director Kasovitz had a first-rate cast, and used them ably.  And it almost worked.  As the last of the credits screed their way up and we stood up to leave, we paused, turned to one another and said, "Hey, wait a minute - none of this makes sense."  The more we thought about it, the less sense it made.  Among the many puzzlers was why Halle Berry needed to shoot the baddie, even after he had burst into spontaneous combustion?  Why is the ghost possessing Halle terrorizing her when the ghost needs her help?  Why does the ghost write mysterious phrases on things instead of just writing, "Those two are the murderers, and proof is at the farm."?  Ad tedium.
         To add to GOTHIKA's woes, Director Kasovitz slapped us in the face with his 'formula' stereotyping of psychiatrists and the asylums in which they work.  In truth, it's more than just stereotyping,  Hollywood seems honor-bound to always portray mental institutions as dark, Kafka-esque labyrinths staffed with know-it-all psychiatrists who are either inherently evil themselves or infinitely frustrating and entirely incapable and unable to perceive their surroundings in real terms.
         Most horror film and science fiction film buffs are ready and willing to step through the looking glass, that is to say, to suspend disbelief.  Once we jam our hands into a box of popcorn, we will, for the sake of some real entertainment forgive almost anything.  I said, 'almost'...
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "I'm the mirror."

2004,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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