Bless The Child

Bless The Child

**

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Devil movies are notoriously difficult to pull off. Ceremonies at which virgins are strapped to pillars, with or without underwear, have a tendency to amuse.

Chuck Russell directed The Mask with Jim Carrey and Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has experience in the farcical and the thrilling and yet allows Kim Basinger to give the dullest performance of the year so far and Rufus Sewell to ham it outrageously.

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The story fishes about in the autism-is-otherworldly paddling pool, as good and evil battle for the soul of a six-year-old girl. Ever since The Exorcist and The Omen, children have been chosen as vessels into which The Horned One spews his venom.

Basinger plays a nurse who appears to have no sex life - casting against type? Her junkie sister (wonderful Angela Bettis) turns up one night with a new born baby which she dumps before disappearing into the night.

The baby grows into a withdrawn, uncommunicative girl who is sent to a special school because no-one knows that she was born under a holy star that gives her supernatural powers, making her invaluable to the Satanic fraternity.

Sewell, as Lucifer's rep in New York, marries Basinger's sister to get close to the girl, while Jimmy Smits, looking tall and masterful, heads the NYPD's investigation-into-cults dept.

Basinger can't run. Her acting is lame as well. Smits takes himself too seriously, striding about with a concerned expression on his face, giving the second dullest performance of the year so far.

Sewell appears to be auditioning for The Fly, as the fly. Only Bettis, Christina Ricci in a cameo role as a street person and Holliston Coleman as the girl breathe life into the film. As for the Prince of Darkness, he makes an appearance during the final ceremony in his End Of Days costume.

Reviewed on: 24 Jan 2001
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Good and evil battle for the soul of a six-year-old.
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Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Tom Rickman, Clifford Green, Ellen Green, based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman

Starring: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Rufus Sewell, Holliston Coleman, Angela Bettis, Ian Holm, Christina Ricci

Year: 2000

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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