Posted on 7/19/11 09:25 AM
I've gotta say, I don't really get all the hate this movie is getting. Is it the next landmark epic in the horror genre? No. Is it an epically bad shot for shot remake of Twilight as many critics claim. Also, No. I almost have to think many of these critics were lining up their snarky Twilight comments and then just issued them out of spite when the movie failed to live up to them. There are certain elements that remind one of Twilight, but considering the two movie's were directed by the same lady, I didn't find that surprising, but the later effort is far superior in almost every way to the first effort. Gone is the ineffectual heroine, gone is the painful emotionally brooding struggle to love a popularly identified monster and gone for the most part are the horrid gilted performances of a sub-par cast on an under budgeted film. Unfortunately still present is some gilted dialog which particularly early in the film is almost painfully bad, but as the movie moves on and the action ramps up...and more particularly when Julie Christie and Gary Oldman arrive it becomes much less noticeable. Oldman and Christie are definately the stars of this film from an acting perspective with Oldman delivering another excellent performance as the vengeance driven, broken souled warrior of God and Christie as the alternately saccarin sweet/Uber-creepy grandmother, but others are definately worth watching and Henry, the good boy in the love triangle (Which isn't really a love triangle at all) is the only one who's performance is awful. Particularly Billy Burke and Virginia Madsen hold your eye when they're on screen and one wishes the movie had been aimed at a bit older audience so they and the previously mentioned actors could be the showpieces and the movie could have possibly been that showpiece of the genre.
Where RRH really distinguishes itself though is in it's subplots. The mystery of "who is the wolf" is satisfactorily handled and honestly I wasn't sure right up until the reveal. The corruption of "The Greater Good" and the study of village virtues and evils is also given quality screen time and carries the movie very well through it's second act and climax. The early portions and finish, which is blessedly short, struggle with pacing problems and the afforementioned lack of good dialog.
What you're left with is a good, not great movie that is probably worth seeing in cinema's if you think you're a fan and a good rental if you think you're not. Visually stunning, atmospherically creepy (I didn't think the film suffered from a lack of gore), but slightly misfocused and badly in need of a new screenwriter.