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The Others

Sooner or later they will find you 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Nicole Kidman should probably have given her agent a hefty Christmas bonus. From being merely "the wife of Tom Cruise who's been in some films" she has, over the course of last year, appeared in two of the most interesting Hollywood projects. One, of course, was the mighty Moulin Rouge. The other is the dark, oppressive and absolutely riveting psychological horror film, The Others.

Set on Jersey shortly following the German occupation, The Others centres around Grace (Kidman), a lone mother who may or may not have lost her husband in the war, and her two photo-sensitive children. From the outset, everything is clearly not quite right in this family dwelling - the servants have all disappeared in mysterious circumstances, the children talk in hushed tones of the time their mummy "went crazy", and somewhere in the house, things are beginning to stir...

It would be a crime to give away the intricacies of the plot, so instead I will simply tell you why you must see this film. It is, along with Tim Burton's magnificent Sleepy Hollow, one of the most richly atmospheric films of the past ten years. The children's aversion to light allows the director, Abre los Ojos helmer Alejandro Amenabar, the freedom to imbue every scene in shadow; dark corners and barely visible rooms abound. Throughout the house lurks a perpetual sense of unease - there are undoubtedly things here that we just can't see. Yet.

In the central role of Grace, Kidman's star shines as brightly, if not more so, than in Moulin Rouge. Without Luhrmann's flashy cinematography and visual flourishes to back her up, she emerges as a character actress to rival any of the quintessential Hitchcockian blondes that her character so closely resembles. She forms the heart of the film - a strong, yet ultimately desperately emotional character. The two child actors, far from being the precocious brats so common in such films, play their roles perfectly - their fear is our fear.

The Others is closest in tone and style to The Sixth Sense, and, like its precursor, its conclusion packs a heck of a wallop. The film ties its lose ends together with such style and intelligence, that it simply begs to be seen again, if only to celebrate its carefully layered secrets and their powerful resolution. Second only to Robert Wise's terrifying The Haunting, The Others stands as one of the finest, most understated ghost films ever made. It'll make you jump, it'll make you think, and it'll probably make you want to do it all over again.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)