After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.
'Possessed', what an attention grabbing title too that doesn't mislead thankfully, did disappoint me just a little, as it had all the ingredients to be great and even a classic. Mostly though 'Possessed' was a solid, good even, film, with a lot of things done excellently and executes its heavy and not easy to pull off subject more than laudably and actually very well even. Not everything is great but a lot of elements are extremely well done.
Am going to start with what could have been done better. The acting was fine on the whole, but Heflin's character is very one-dimensional and very difficult to find any kind of appeal. It is not a typical role for Heflin and to me he struggled and didn't look comfortable, more intensity and charm was needed and there was nowhere near enough of either. Stanley Ridges is better but a bit too neurotic for a character that should be sympathetic.
Some of the film does get a little too melodramatic, particularly in the middle where some of the psychology waffles a little too self-indulgently and if Waxman's score was a little more subtle at times that would have helped.
Crawford however is superb in a role tailor-made for her, the more intense moments are incredibly bone-chilling without feeling too over-played. Geraldine Brooks, who really shines and this was just her film debut, is the other cast standout and Massey makes the most out of an underwritten role and is really quite good.
The photography is excellent throughout, especially clever and very atmospheric in the point of view shots. Waxman's score could have done with more subtlety, but it is sumptuously orchestrated and quite haunting. The direction is at ease with the subject and has the right amount of tension without on the most part over-heating it. The story is not always perfect but it is still gripping from beginning to end, the mental illness element is handled with tact but also in a way that is both quite frightening and moving and it's suspenseful. The first act in particular is terrific.
In conclusion, solid if falling slightly short of bigger potential. 7/10
- Dec 3, 2019