Cadeem Lalor originally posted on August 02, 2009 09:53
Critical Value: 8.5/10 Entertainment Value: 10/10
The story revolves around John (Peter Saarsgard) and Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga), who are the parents of two children and would have had a third, if it weren’t for a miscarriage. Ridden with a feeling of loss the two decide to adopt for their third, since Kate does not wish to experience pregnancy again. At the orphanage they meet Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), an intelligent and mature 9 year old girl who they take a liking to and decide to adopt. However, it is soon clear that Esther is not as innocent as she appears to be.
Orphan begins with a scene that is sure to grab your attention and sets the tone for the rest of the film, demonstrating that The Orphan will be much more gory than expected. The acting plays a large part in the enjoyment of the film. The decision to cast relatively unknown, yet talented, actors helps the audience become more immersed in the film. Even the performance of the child actors is in no way wooden, with the script giving each character the opportunity to express a wide range of emotions.
Fuhrman does an amazing job as the manipulative, yet seemingly innocent Esther.
The script also does a great job of developing the characters further as the story progresses, instead of ignoring this for the sake of the film’s action. These new developments also add further conflict that keeps the audience entertained even when Esther is not the focus of the scene. For this reason I was continuously engaged by the story.
The Orphan is more of a thriller, as opposed to a horror film. It disturbs the viewer as opposed to making them jump, so for those expecting lots of scares you will be disappointed.
There is also comic relief, mainly from the parents, that helps to relieve tension in the story and make the audience love their characters more.
The climax of the story does reveal a twist that is sure to surprise many. As I left the theatre I left with the opinion that this movie was one of my favourites and one of the best thriller films of the last decade.