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Egoyan's movies often seem located underwater, in some surreal dreamscape where one's breath is perpetually suspended while a slow horror seeps ever deeper under the skin. Helpless, transfixed, one watches as his characters drive inexorably toward mined intersections where lives and souls may be lost or redeemed. When Hilditch's path crosses, diverges from and finally coincides with that of young, pregnant Felicia (Elaine Cassidy)--an Irish innocent searching for her errant boyfriend--it leads to terrible epiphany for these fellow travellers. Trouble is, creepy Hilditch and too-naive Felicia come up a bit short in the psychological complexity department, so by film's end, revelatory payoffs are mostly penny ante. Felica's Journey tours familiar Egoyan territory--an industrialised wasteland full of hungry hearts--but this latest fairy tale (think perverse variations on Hansel and Gretel) isn't in the same league with such "family values" masterpieces as Exotica or The Sweet Hereafter. --Kathleen Murphy, Amazon.com
There is, indeed, much to admire about Felicia's Journey. The cinematography is excellent, with many memorable frames. One that particularly sticks in my mind is a shot of a nuclear power plant, brilliantly photographed, that captures the emptiness of the landscape, as well as being a harbinger and symbol of the roiling emotions that lay beneath the surface of the main character's (Hilditch's)calm exterior. There are many such nuances in the film. Egoyan is clearly a director with a sure hand.
We know from the outset of the film that there is something not quite right about Hilditch (Bob Hoskins). What makes the character interesting and keeps us in suspense for a time, is that the character can go either way. Early on, it looks as if he may just be a mild mannered eccentric who has a compulsion about the proper preperation of food. We see him comically standing at the prep table in his elaborate home kitchen, carefully mimicing the step by step instructions of a rather ditzy French Lady Chef on a small screen TV.
The same is true of Felicia (Elaine Cassidy), who arrives at the customs desk in England, having come over by ferry from N Ireland. She is the ultimate rube, not even realizing that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, when the customs officer explains that that is why she doesn't need a passport. We are set up to expect very little out of naive, lost-girl Felicia.
The first indicator that something is not right with Hilditch is conveyed very subtly.Read more ›