Sooner Or Later They
Will Find You.
The Others is Alejandro Amenabar's first North American
film. The twenty-nine-year-old writer/director was born in Santiago de
Chile. Unlike emerging Chilean wines (which fall short of California's
best), Amenabar is a talented filmmaker ready to tackle Hollywood.
The Others looks like a foreign film. It's more concerned with
atmosphere than special effects. It was filmed in Spain (although the
setting is English). The lead actress is Australia's Nicole Kidman.
She's terrific in a complicated role that requires her full range. Like
all good actresses, she's a chameleon, enveloped in her character, and
pointed in the right direction by Amenabar. I agree with Dallas Morning
News critic Philip Wuntch that Kidman resembles the elegant Grace Kelly
(b. 1929, d. 1982). Is it coincidence that Kidman's character is named
"Grace?" Probably. I digress. I'm a sucker for beautiful women on
With all the key elements in place, The Others isn't particularly scary.
In fact, the only startling scenes are eerily quiet moments punctuated
by sudden, loud, digital cacophony. I was disappointed. The
"frightening" moments in The Others are an exercise from page one of the
Hollywood horror film manual. The same technique is used in every "slasher"
film. It's not the killer with the dorky mask that makes you jump out of
your seat. Instead, it's the "false attack" followed by creepy silence,
followed by the real attack accompanied with the unexpected speaker
exploding in your ear. People who want to be scared (and we're talking
about teens) deliberately allow themselves to be lured by this
However, The Others does try to be a psychological, rather than
superficial thriller. Also, the film is bolstered by a strong ending. I
kept wondering where the story was leading me; and I was pleasantly
surprised with the climax.
If you study the credits of The Others, you will probably understand the
imbalance of "thinking man's picture" convoluted with "Hollywood tripe."
While Amenabar and his cinematographer Javier Aguirresaraboe create a
satisfying visual feel, the overall picture is marred by the influx of
eight producers. The Others comes across as a movie originally
envisioned by South American filmmakers; and marketed by successful, and
decidedly Hollywood producers such as Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and Tom
I don't have anything against the Weinsteins, or Cruise. Still, I think
somewhere along the way, Amenabar's original film got lost.