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Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Believable Characters, Excellent Directing, 24 July 2003
This review is from: Felicia's Journey [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film is, I must admit, my introduction to Egoyan's works. He is a director who comes highly recommended by a friend whose taste in films I admire.
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. Directly after the characters first meet and Hilditch has directed Felicia to a factory where she might possibly locate her boyfriend (the object of her visit), the camera shows Hilditch stopping his car and checking Felicia out in his rear view mirror for a fleeting moment. We know from that moment that there are ominous things on the horizon. We just don't know how onminous or how severe. As the plot and the characters develop, we gradually come to learn the sordid truth.
Excellent preformances from the leads and several supporting characters (particularly from Egoyan's wife, Arsinée Khanjian). The Lost Girl scenes (as viewed from a secret video camera planted on the dashboard of Hilditch's car) were fairly effective in the final edit. Yet the extended scenes in the DVD extras showed just how painfully amateurish these young actresses actually were. First year drama class material. The East Indies Bible lady was also playing to stereotype and her expressions consisted more of mugging than acting.
In the final analysis, the film was satisfying enough to make me want to seek out more Egoyan films. I think The Sweet Hereafter will be next on my list.
BEK
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Initial post: 1 May 2014 10:58:06 BDT
S. Critchley says:
Could you please tell me if the DVD has English subtitles ?
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Location: Southern Pines, NC

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