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Bless the Child

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Bless the Child

Starring: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits
Director: Chuck Russell
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: August 2000
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Angela Bettis, Christina Ricci, Lumi Cavazos, Holliston Coleman, Rufus Sewell, Dimitra Arlys

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewvideo review
3.  Dustin Putman read the review movie review

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

There's a problem casting Kim Basinger. Since winning an Oscar for "L.A. Confidential," she's attempted two protagonist roles - "I Dreamed of Africa" and this - and neither has worked. Kim's pretty but emotionally passive. Which just isn't appropriate for this supernatural thriller in which a psychiatric nurse, a lapsed Catholic, discovers that her strung-out junkie sister's child, Cody (Holliston Coleman), whom she's cared for since birth, is "special". Not only can the six year-old cause objects to spin and the snow inside a paperweight form a cyclone, she revives a 'dead' bird in the school yard. And that's just the beginning of the girl's spiritual power, at least according to runaway informant Christina Ricci and censured Jesuit Ian Holm, who reveal that Cody's birth coincided with the reappearance of the Star of Bethlehem after two millennia - and the devil is after her soul. His missionary is creepy looking Rufus Sewell, whose unfocused eyes are as disconcerting as a leering gargoyle. Predictably, Cody is abducted by his black-clad Satanists and threatened continuously to renounce God for the forces of darkness before Black Easter. "She will be ours!" vows Sewell. Only Jimmy Smits, as a former seminarian-turned-FBI agent specializing in the occult, is willing to help Basinger. (For this, Smits quit "NYPD Blue"?) Reminiscent of "Stigmata," "The Exorcist," "The Omen" and "The Sixth Sense," the stilted screenplay, credited to three writers, strips novelist Cathy Cash Spellman's plot down to its sinister mystery-child essentials. Chuck Russell's direction is lackluster and the special-effects are limited to computer-generated rats and demons. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Bless the Child" is an ominous, apocalyptic 4. Good vs. Evil? You guess who wins.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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