Film: Video Round-up
Thursday 22 April 1999
to rent from Monday
People threw up in terror upon its first release, 25 years ago. Now, 15 years after the BBFC inflated its lurid reputation by banning it on video, it's finally yours to rent as the director William Friedkin intended it. And just about worth the wait.
Don't bother holding your breath for the notorious effects, though. Friedkin's graphic staging of William Peter Blatty's tale of an adolescent girl's demonic possession - the spinning head, the crucifix masturbation, the thrashing bed - inevitably looks dated. But while the film comes nowhere near some of the claims made for it, in other ways it has weathered well. The eerie Middle-Eastern desert prologue is photographed in almost painful brightness before the gloomy Georgetown denouement. From frame one, then, Friedkin creates a mood of immanent evil that never relents. The doubts and preoccupations of the various priests, particularly those of the disillusioned Father Karras (Jason Miller), convey a powerful sense of spiritual crisis (even if the holy fathers' ubiquity at Georgetown parties and social events looks even more unlikely now). Friedkin's remarkable portrayal of the failure of modern medicine and its terrifying instruments should also find a more receptive audience today than it did in 1973.
Dancing at Lughnasa (PG), to rent
There's an air of deja vu to Pat O'Connor's torpid adaptation of Brian Friel's stage play. Kate (Meryl Streep) is a repressed schoolteacher, eldest of five sisters, including, of all people, a chain-smoking Kathy Burke, struggling to withstand the pressures of the modern world in pre- war rural Ireland. The Irish Tourist Board visuals and La Streep's thesp antics are par for the course, but that's not what nags. Then it hits you. Housebound? Tugging on a Woodbine? Bickering? It's Waynetta O'Slob: "Piss off Meryl - I am smoking a fag!"
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever