"Amenábar’s main solecism is the contrivance of the plot."
Nicole Kidman is promptly back on screens to help wipe away the explosion that “Moulin Rouge” left, in the little-publicized “The Others.” (Let me clarify that the explosion was not at the box office, but rather the mess of wanna-be ‘style’ it secreted.)Saying much about “The Others” is essentially saying too much, but the flip-side ghost story is but another alteration and alternate to “The Sixth Sense.” Kidman and her two pre-pubescent children live in an immense, hollow and commodious old house on the Jersey Shores in 1945. The possibly widowed woman employs three servants scavenging for work, and the daughter moiety starts complaining about stranger-ghosts trying to take over the house. Is it delusion, or is she able to see something we can’t? The isolated thriller is directed by Alejandro Amenábar (“Abre los ojos/Open Your Eyes”) in a cavern of hospital whispers and dimly lit rooms and hallways. There is certainly a presence of chilling suspense throughout, and the atmosphere is worked on and at with a serious competence. The production values are the most stable aspect of “The Others,” and while it is so highly concentrated on, Amenábar’s main solecism is the contrivance of the plot. Part way through, the storytelling roughly segues from plotting into plowing. The electrification desired by the revelation (nothing that wasn’t suspected early on by the hinting of the white, rubbery color of the children’s skin) mismanages to be nothing more than a household static shock. It hardly warrants a double-take or a moment to digest or assure yourself that you were right all along. That is the foremost difficulty and blemish when one movie attempts to recycle a major gimmick of another, even though the rest of “The Others” was more sure-footed than the other movie in question. My own expectancy or high hopes was in the casting of Elaine Cassidy as one of the maids. A superior discovery in Atom Egoyan’s masterpiece “Felicia’s Journey,” Cassidy gave birth to the title character, but the cruelest facet of “The Others” was to have her character a mute. Not a word uttered in her first post-Felicia role. A bona fide waste of talent. As I flipped through the production notes, it was nice to see that Amenábar has mostly kept his Spanish crew employed from his virgin and sophomore efforts.
With Fionunula Flanagan, Alakina Sykes, James Bentley, and a pointless cameo by Christopher Eccleston.Final Verdict: C+.