As I was leaving tonight’s screening of Case 39, I had a privilege of eavesdropping the conversation of two young ladies leaving the cinema in front of me. It went a little something like this; ‘So you gotta review this?’ ‘yeah’ ‘What are you going to write? ‘Cheese on toast.’ ‘Really? You’d get away with just that?’ ‘I wish I could. It pretty much sums up the film.’
Seems like someone forgot what it is to enjoy watching films and at some stage decided to be a movie critic, with way too much emphasis on the critic part.
Now I’m not going to say that Case 39 is perfect and devoid of cheese, in fact if Case 39 were a weather report it would be something along the lines of; ‘Sunny with scattered cheese.’
Back to the film. I have to admit having some reservations before going to see case 39, the first being the films main star, Renée Zellweger. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed anything with her in it. The trailer however piqued my interest, even though the storm clouds of cheese did look imminent. What sold me however, was the oven scene that was put up on YouTube, it built on some of the interesting parts of the trailer and made Case 39 definitely worth taking a look at.
The basic plot goes like this; Emily Jenkins (Zellweger) is an idealistic social worker with far too many cases on hand, when she is given her 39th open case. As soon as she visits the parents, she knows something isn’t right, but also sees a case where she can actually make a difference. With the help of her Police Officer friend, Emily manages to save Lillith Sullivan from a very terrible death at the hands of her parents.
Becoming emotionally attached to Lillith, Emily crosses a line and decides that she needs to have temporary custody of her, and with some wrangling manages to set it up. Soon, however, Emily discovers that Lillith’s parents had good reason to want to kill their child.
I have to say, I struggled with Zellweger in the role. She seems a little too set in her acting ways to really do the role justice. But to be fair, she did a decent enough job of it to keep the movie rolling. The best part was that of Jodelle Ferland who played Lillith. She pretty much nailed to role, with some superb acting that was only hampered occasionally by the cheese tinge to some scenes.
As far as a thriller/horror goes, Case 39 plays it by the numbers, setting up an interesting (if predictable) storyline, playing out like a decent paced drama, but with perfect timing it threw scenes and sounds at you – just to make you jump, to put you on edge. Then slowly the tension was ratcheted up until you were left teetering on a knife-edge.
The whole film is nicely put together, that does at time have you wondering where the line between fact and fantasy lies. Whilst the story is predictable, the route it takes is far from a straight road.
If you go into Case 39 thinking it’s going to be dumb, then that’s what it will be. However, if you go into it with a laid back attitude, not looking for anything too taxing on the brain, then you’ll be in for a decent thrill ride.
Reviewd by: Jonathan Read
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Ian McShane, Kerry O’Malley, Callum Keith Rennie, Jodelle Ferland
Directed by: Christian Alvart
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Rating: [R16] contains violence and horror scenes
Going Deeper (May contain spoilers):
One of the main themes of the film was the power of fear. Real fear can literally paralyse people. Its people’s fear that Lillith uses in Case 39, to control and kill her victims. But as Franklin D. Roosevelt said; ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’
Fear feeds on our insecurities, and unless we find something to grasp hold of, that gives us the strength to stand up to those insecurities, fear will always haunt us.
In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? – PS 56:11