Friday, May 24, 2013

Gothika Movie Review – What's Real and What's Not?

Length: 98 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: November 21, 2003
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a doctor working in an asylum not far from her house. After a long day, she heads home in the middle of a massive thunderstorm. Along the way, she swerves to avoid hitting a girl who runs out into the street. When she attempts to talk to her, the other woman grabs her hand and Miranda passes out.

She wakes up in the same hospital where she works, discovering that after her accident, someone killed her husband. Her close friend and potential love interest Pete (Robert Downey, Jr.) serves as her personal doctor, but it's clear that he isn't sure if he believes that she doesn't really remember what happened that night. Miranda sees her former patient Chloe multiple times. Chloe always claimed that someone in the hospital raped her several times, but Miranda doesn't believe her until she actually witnesses the rape herself. As she starts flashing back to the night of the murder, she realizes that some of the things she sees in her mind actually happened to someone else, and she needs to figure out the secret behind the murder to get her life back.

I first saw "Gothika" when it came out on DVD. In fact, I actually bought a copy because so many people told me what a great flick it was, only to turn around and sell it a few months later. I mentioned wanting to see it again recently, and found a copy for $1 at a used store so it seemed like fate. Was the movie incredibly great? No. Was it a lot better than I previously thought? Yes.

"Gothika" has the kind of ending that lets you create your own decision about what happened. Was Miranda truly crazy all along? Did she have a life altering moment? The director also manages to create some chilly moments through the use of dark colors and musical background notes. When Berry drives her car down in the pouring rain, you might feel a little twinge at the back of your neck.

That doesn't mean the movie isn't without its flaws though. Charles Dutton, who plays Miranda's husband, is a great actor, but he and Berry have almost no chemistry whatsoever. Watching them kiss is almost disturbing to watch. She does have good chemistry with Downey Jr., but it doesn't take long before he admits that nothing ever happened between them though he wanted it too.

Whoever wrote "Gothika" has no clue about how doctors actually work though. Berry's character worked in the hospital for years, had relationships with patients, and formed relationships with her co-workers. There isn't a chance in hell that the court would send her to the same hospital after she supposedly killed her husband. Considering that she thinks she may have had an affair with Pete and he becomes her doctor was enough to kill any belief I had in the movie. If you can overlook that though, you might actually enjoy this one.

1 comment:

  1. Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a bizarre gothic modern noir dark comedy called "Absolutely brilliant...
    truly and completely different..." in Film Threat, was recently released on DVD and Netflix through
    Vanguard Cinema (, and is currently
    debuting on Cable Video On Demand. The film had it's World Premiere at the Montreal
    World Film Festival, and it's US Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival. Featuring
    Sarah Strange ("White Noise"), Kurt Max Runte ("X-Men", "Battlestar Gallactica",) and
    Dan Zukovic (director and star of the cult comedy "The Last Big Thing"). Featuring the
    Glam/Punk songs "Dark Fruition", "Ire and Angst", "F.ByronFitzBaudelaire" and a
    dark orchestral score by Neil Burnett.


    ***** (Five stars) "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different...something you've never tasted
    before..." Film Threat
    "A black comedy about a very strange love triangle" Seattle Times
    "Consistently stunning images...a bizarre blend of art, sex, and opium, "Dark Arc" plays like a candy-coloured
    version of David Lynch. " IFC News
    "Sarah Strange is as decadent as Angelina Jolie thinks she is...Don't see this movie sober!" Metroactive Movies
    "Equal parts film noir intrigue, pop culture send-up, brain teaser and visual feast. " American Cinematheque