One advantage of working from home is the freedom to take an afternoon off every so often. We saw The Woman in Black this afternoon – I never can resist non-gory scary movies. I thought this one was excellent. It’s a period piece set in the turn of the century. Daniel Radcliffe plays a lawyer from London assigned to go through the papers in an old home to tie up the former owner’s affairs so the house can be sold. I won’t spoil anything, but conditions are such that he has to do a good job on this assignment to provide for his four year old boy.
The muted setting is ideal for a ghost story. The old house is down an isolated road outside of a a small fishing village. A marsh washes out the road daily, leaving the home on a hill to look like it’s on its own island. But what I appreciated most was the sparse dialog. Radcliffe’s character, Arthur Kipps, wears the fixed stare of a man who lives much of his life inside his own head. He’s not only open to the possibility of spirits, he seems to long for it.
The movie itself is a ride. The steady escalation takes a few subtle turns without twisting the plot to death. There’s only one character I could have done without, who’s entire story line seemed redundant and over the top (lady with dogs). That the film is based on the book is evident in its ending. I think only books can end a story exactly how it has to end. The thing that has to happen happens, and that’s the ultimate satisfaction for any movie, but particularly here because the point of view is strong. Death is not always the thing to fear most.
It’s a treat to sit back in a dark theatre and watch a movie. In the city, stepping back into the street when you’re still in that dream state is bizarre. It washes over you, but can’t touch you yet. People were speed walking home from the subway, taxi’s had their lights on and bars were just tuning on the night’s music. It felt as though we’d taken the mood from the movie with us, wearing it like a cloak. It was dusk when we turned down one of the streets in the east village with old brick buildings and wrought iron fire escapes. The kind of street that probably looks just as it did 100 years ago. The perfect setting for a movie set around the same time as Woman in Black.
The no-parking fliers on the trees said something was filming for the “James Grey” project. We saw the film catering tables, and a bunch of crew people rolling up cables for the night. Nothing very exciting until we came upon the cars.
Sadly I didn’t have my camera on hand, so phone pics will have to do. Anyway, it was a nice thing to stumble upon: