(US); 1976; Rated R; 97 Minutes
Sissy Spacek: Carrie White
Piper Laurie: Margaret White
Amy Irving: Sue Snell
William Katt: Tommy Ross
John Travolta: Billy Nolan
Nancy Allen: Chris Hargenson
Produced by Paul Monash and Louis A. Stroller; Directed
by Brian DePalma; Screenwritten by Lawrence D.
by DAVID KEYES
DePalma’s "Carrie" is that movie you wouldn’t want your
teenage daughter to see before she goes to the prom. Or
is it? Your daughter might be one of the brightest, clever
and unique teenage females in her class. She could be the
target of countless and mean practical jokes, or she could
very well be the person who targets unique teenage girls
with those practical jokes. Depending on what your daughter
stands for, they can identify with "Carrie" in one of two
ways. The latter identifiable situation can only be taken
seriously to a point. A teenage girl can have a joke played
on her at her very own Senior prom, but I doubt she’d lock
the doors and terrorize the whole gymnasium as revenge.
There are ways to provoke revenge on pranksters, but this
is not one of them. It might give your little girl ideas...
that any of it is a problem. As one of Stephen King’s most
loyal fans, it’s really comes down to whether or not he’s
written a better supernatural story than "Carrie." Brian
DePalma, who directs a structuralized duplicate of King’s
novel, brings to the screen one of the best movies our American
Heritage has to be proud of. It’s a gripping and rousing
perusal of our human souls--an opportunity to become aware
of our dark sides and meet them head on. As a study of the
transformation from innocence to darkness, it’s a movie
of the same shocking and gripping proportions that paralyzed
our nerves when two priests entered a possessed girl’s bedroom
in "The Exorcist."
the study of a human being is not easy to tackle. If you
expect to examine the soul of a character, you have to cover
all the apsects--quirks, habits, expressions, actions, vocabulary,
physical structure, and personality--that are the focus
of judging a person’s inner-self. In "Carrie," Brian DePalma
pays attention to all these things and more, as he slowly
peels back the layers of a young teenage girl who has powers
that frighten her. The title sequence, where you witness
all the girls in the locker room showering and dressing,
is an example of how DePalma has revealed all the roots
of King’s character. As Carrie showers, menstruation begins
for the first time, and since her mother tells her nothing
about periods or puberty, she is scared, frightened, and
ridiculed by all the people in the locker room. Only the
gym teacher notices that she doesn’t understand.
being sent home, we meet Carrie’s religiously-obsessed mother
Margaret, played stunningly by Piper Laurie. She hears the
news of Carrie’s first period, and is shocked. She considers
menstruation and the signs of fertility as clues of breaking
chastity. With her contradictory beliefs in Jesus Christ
and the ‘good lord,’ she locks Carrie in the closet and
orders her to pray for forgiveness. Carrie, who at this
point slowly begins manifesting her telekinetic power, does
what her mother says and stays clear of any trouble.
of the girls named Sue (Amy Irving) feels guilt for what
she and the others did to Carrie, and as a last-minute decision,
asks her boyfriend to ask Carrie out to the prom sort of
as a chance to say she’s sorry. It’s a decision which he
accepts, and when he pops the question, Carrie refuses at
first. Then, as he becomes increasingly impatient, she accepts
the offer and agrees to go the prom with him.
the entire gym class is punished at school for terrorizing
Carrie. After one of the students walks off the field in
frustration and refusal of the punishment, she captures
her boyfriend (John Travolta) in a sexual encounter so that
she can convince him to play a cruel joke on Carrie at Senior
Prom. They butcher a herd of pigs and milk the blood from
their bodies, which would be used to soak Carrie and embarrass
her in front of the entire Senior class when she is faultly
elected Prom Queen.
attention is paid to every part of the movie. We get to
know Carrie for the sweet, shy girl she really is, at the
same time of getting to know the cruel and selfish pranksters
she is put up against. By the time the ultimate prank is
carried out, there’s a twist so incredibly unexpected and
frightening that it’s fascinating. The tables turn, and
half the Senior class ends up dead after Carrie manipulates
the gym with her telekinesis. Returning home to an enraged
mother, more twists and surprises follow, until the movie
closes with the shocker of them all. I won’t dare reveal
any more, because so much of it is so wisely written and
executed that Brian DePalma should be declared one of the
greatest American film directors.
of the details and twists from King’s original masterpiece
are demonstrated through the movie in almost exact structure.
A teacher of mine once said that the best movies always
stay on target of the theme and structure of the books they
are adapted from. As is the case with a movie like "Carrie,"
the step-by-step direct approach is inevitable. King’s book
is much too precious to change in movie-form.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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