Staff rating

Mesmerized Star_onStar_onStar_onStar_on 4.0 4.0 from 1 reviews
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Based on the work by Jerzy Skolimowski, the film is a dramatization of the Victoria Thompson murder case in 1880s New Zealand. A teenaged orphaned girl marries an older man and decides after years of abuse to kill him through hypnosis. An unengaging drama, though the lovely New Zealand landscape serves as a fitting contrast to the film's ominous tone.

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Available on Running time 90 minutes. Originally from British, New Zealand, Australian.

Cast and Crew

Period Piece: 19th Century, Domestic Abuse, Sexual Abuse
Michael Laughlin
John Lithgow, Jodie Foster, Michael Murphy, Dan Shor, Harry Andrews
Louis Horvath
Michael Laughlin
Georges Delerue
Challenge, RKO

Visitor Reviews

Star_onStar_onStar_onStar_on 4.0 4.0
Jim Davies

This is a strangely haunting drama, well enhanced by the Maori choir that accompanies the opening and closing of the movie. I was riveted, watching it twice over right out of the box. Acting is excellent, with Jodie Foster in the unfamiliar role of a prim young Victorian lady speaking English as it is spoken by the English, exploring the world outside her orphanage tentatively but with firm resolution. Lithgow is convincing as a hard drinking, uncouth but successful businessman devoid of social and even sexual grace. The drama unfolds relentlessly, to keep us where we belong - on the edge of our chairs. The New Zealand accent isn't easy to imitate and only Lithgow does a passable job, but I doubt if that matters because immigration to that colony from Britain at the time would mean there was a wide mix of dialects. The murder would have been easily avoided had the idiotic lawyer whom the heroine consulted given her better advice, and that's a condemnation of Victorian attitudes towards marriage and probably justifies the movie's billing as a member of the "domestic abuse" genre. However it goes much further, for the manner in which Victoria escaped her trap gave Oliver a dreadfully cruel death, and the film is honest about its portrayal. The movie therefore left me surprised: I sympathetically identified with a woman who had with malice aforethought cruelly caused the violent death of her husband and benefactor - for no better reason than that his inadequacies left her unsatisfied in love. I'm glad she was acquitted, and hopefully lived happily ever after with George; for punishment never, ever solves anything but is the antithesis of true justice. The story left me nonetheless with a strong sense of moral ambiguity, which is no doubt just what the director intended.