“Dorothy Mills” Review
A few years ago, Nicolas Cage starred in a horrendous remake of “The Wicker Man”. It was embarrassingly bad. For those who want to get the taste out of their mouths, “Dorothy Mills” is a far more worthy effort that pays homage to the classic original.
This psychological thriller also tips its cap to “The Birds”. Like Hitchcock’s 1963 masterpiece and the aforementioned 1973 version of “The Wicker Man”, this movie places a normal person on a remote island filled with odd and creepy characters. The normal person in this movie is Jane, a psychiatrist called in to investigate a troubled young girl, Dorothy, who is accused of harming a child when babysitting.
Carice van Houten stars as Jane, a woman whose expensive jackets, designer handbags and stiletto boots stick out like a sore thumb. The island community is insular and oppressively religious. Men and women sit separately on either side of the aisle when they attend church. Their food is bland, colorless and tasteless. They are not welcoming to outsiders. And they are definitely hiding a dark secret.
As Jane spends time with Dorothy, who looks like an albino Stepford child, it is clear that she has a case of multiple personalities. Who and what those personalities represent is the key to the film’s secret. However, things do not go smoothly for Jane as she is constantly derailed by new revelations and uncooperative locals.
Typically, van Houten is the best part of any film she is in. Once again, she is terrific here. I cannot name a more sincere actress in movies today. I believe every thought, every gesture and every word of her characters. She is immensely powerful. However, the stand-out performance in this movie belongs to Jenn Murray as Dorothy. Amazingly, this her first major role — and I can’t think of a better debut in recent cinema history. What she is asked to do in this film is quite extraordinary and will likely rank as one of my favorite performances from 2009.
“Dorothy Mills” is an absolute gem! I love it when I stumble across a great film like this. I only sought it out because Carice van Houten, one of my very favorite actresses, was in the lead role. Without her, in all likelihood, I would never have seen the film at all. It proves yet again that if you are willing to look outside of the top 5 movies at the box office each week, you can find some of the best films of the year. The best way to do that is to follow your favorite actors and directors throughout their filmographies.
This thriller is beautifully shot, eerily creepy and completely unforgettable. It will rank as one of the Top 10 Films of 2009 and deserves a big audience. I urge you to rent the film on DVD. You will not be disappointed.