Starring: Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Running Time: 106 mins
Regression is a Spanish film about a detective and a psychiatrist who, while investigating the rape of a young woman, uncover a series of cases revealing the practise of satanic rituals in the local area.
Despite featuring a whole host of great talent both in front of and behind the camera, Regression is somewhat of an underwhelming watch, consistently missing the mark when it comes to a genuinely riveting and unpredictable mystery, not to mention its attempts at introducing deep religious undertones throughout. Director Alejandro Amenábar does a good job at establishing an eerie atmosphere, however it doesn’t save the film from its generally dull nature.
However, let’s quickly touch on a few of the positives, the biggest of which is Amenábar’s direction. Although he may not manage to make the story so enthralling, his innate talent shines through in the film’s still powerfully eerie atmosphere. The distinctly grey and drab cinematography undoubtedly contributes to this, however Amenábar manages to show the darker side to the events at play very clearly on screen, something that makes for an at least atmospheric watch throughout.
What’s more is that the performances here aren’t too bad. Nobody really shines as an exceptional stand-out, however Ethan Hawke is a likable and convincing lead, playing the detective role strongly throughout, while Emma Stone, despite occasionally seeming a little inactive throughout with what seems like a bit of a crybaby performance, does well to keep her character’s secrets hidden, to the extent that her side of the story remains believable throughout.
However, that’s about it for the positives, because I just really couldn’t get into Regression. Firstly, it’s a mystery that seems fairly simple at the outset, and although the detective and psychiatrist often find themselves in genuinely impossible lines of investigation, the main plot is actually fairly predictable to the average viewer, and that makes its ultimate outcome less than thrilling.
Some of the more intense interrogation scenes do provide some intrigue and drama, however the majority of the story consists of Ethan Hawke driving around and encountering various unsavoury personalities, to the extent that their satanic culture starts to get to him. It’s an interesting storyline, but it’s unfortunately not followed up too well given a less-than-impressive series of twists in the film’s final act.
On the whole, I was disappointed by Regression. Its director may do a good job at providing an atmospheric watch, whilst the performances may also be fine, but the story is far too predictable and nowhere near riveting enough to really grab you at any point, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6.