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The Wicker Man

Warning One: I have not written a review in a while, so please be patient with the quality of this one.

Warning Two: Mild spoilers.

The Wicker Man

Beautifully horrific. Wonderfully brutal. The Wicker Man is a powerful film on the fervor of the faithful, and the inability to recogize the validity of other's beliefs.

Sgt. Howie lands at Summerisle Island searching for a missing girl--Rowan Morrison. Howie finds the residents of Summerisle resistant to talking about Rowan, and they feign ignorance when they do say anything at all. Meanwhile, Howie becomes aware of their neo-pagan beliefs and rituals, and sees this as an affront to his beliefs--that of the Church.

Howie's rush to judgment of the Isle's inhabitants casts him an unsympathetic light. The viewer finds Howie detestable for much of the film. The pagan rituals are all presented with earnestness and honesty--shot in broad daylight so as to relinquish any intimidation.

Howie's insistence of his moral and religious superiority is shown countlessly throughout the first three quarters of the film. He applies his moral system to their education and lifestyle. He judges their religion harshly, and the Islanders seem like the hapless victims. However, as Howie discovers Rowan's fate the Islanders seem less friendly--their religion less innocent. The characterization begins to change--leading to the climax, with the Islanders succeeding in forcing their moral system onto him.

Wicker Man
is a brilliant film which follows its moral throughout the entire film. Robin Hardy did an excellent job of casting doubt as to who truly was the hero and who truly the villain--at least until the memorable final act.


One word of warning: While history has classified this film as a horror movie, I am unsure for the reason. If this story is viewed as a psychological thriller, I think it would be better received.