Movie Review: THE FIRST OMEN has its share of spooky and unexpected moments

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The First Omen (English) Review {2.5/5} & Review Rating

Star Cast: Nell Tiger Free, Sônia Braga, Ralph Ineson

movie review the first omen has its share of spooky and unexpected moments

Director: Arkasha Stevenson

The First Omen Movie Synopsis:
THE FIRST OMEN is the story of a woman in danger. In 1971, Margaret Daino (Nell Tiger Free) from the USA arrives in Rome to take her vows. She is warmly greeted by Cardinal Lawrence (Bill Nighy) at the airport and she is taken to Vizzardeli Orphanage, which is run by Sister Silvia (Sônia Braga). This is a time when civil rights protests are going on in the city and she is asked to be extra careful. Her roommate is Luz (Maria Caballero), who’s also all set to turn into a Nun. At the orphanage, Margaret gets friendly with a young, shy artist Carlita Skianna (Nicole Sorace). Margaret is distraught to see Carlita being mistreated by the other nuns and often locked in the ‘bad room’ because of her alleged misbehaviour. She relates to Carlita as she was considered a problem child at the orphanage, where she grew up. One day, she meets Father Brennan (Ralph Ineson), who warns her that things are not fine at Vizzardeli and that she must stay away from Carlita. Margaret doesn’t believe her but when Sister Anjelica (Ishtar Currie-Wilson) suddenly kills herself brutally, Margaret fears the worst. She once again meets Father Brennan who informs her about a sinister plan of a section of the senior members of the Church. Margaret’s world comes crashing down. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

The First Omen Movie Story Review:
Ben Jacoby’s story is imaginative as it tells us about the events before the ones shown in THE OMEN [1976]. Tim Smith, Arkasha Stevenson and Keith Thomas’ screenplay is a bit slow and dragging. But the writers have peppered the narrative with a lot of spooky moments, which will give viewers their money’s worth. The dialogues are normal.

Arkasha Stevenson’s direction is decent. She works hard on the setting and making sure the orphanage seems like a place that is hiding a dark secret. The few scenes that stand out are the opening sequence, Margaret’s experience at the dance club, Sister Anjelica’s death, Margaret learning the truth and Margaret being isolated. Two scenes are similar to the ones in THE OMEN, probably as a homage of sorts. There’s a twist in the second half, which is unexpected.

On the flipside, the 123-minute-long film could have been shorter. Certain things happen at convenience – it’s bewildering how Margaret managed to escape, especially the night before June 6. A few scenes are very disturbing and are not for the faint-hearted. Though the makers have tried their best to ensure that one doesn’t need to see THE OMEN to understand this film, a few aspects might still go bouncer. Moreover, there’s a limited fan base for THE OMEN in India, especially among the youth since the classic flick was released nearly 48 years ago. This is also a reason why the buzz is hardly there for THE FIRST OMEN.

The First Omen Movie Performances:
Nell Tiger Free plays the lead role with aplomb. She is effortless in some of the challenging scenes, especially the ones in the second half. Ralph Ineson lends able support. Nicole Sorace leaves a huge mark, especially with her eyes. Bill Nighy is dependable. Sônia Braga underplays her part and doesn’t go overboard while essaying a negative role. Maria Caballero is fair. Ishtar Currie Wilson, Tawfeek Barhom as Father Gabriel and Andrea Arcangeli (Paolo) leave a mark.

The First Omen music and other technical aspects:
Mark Korven’s background score is effective and is not loud, as it usually happens in such films. Aaron Morton’s cinematography is simple. Paco Delgado’s costumes are realistic. The production design is reminiscent of the bygone era. The action is gory to another level. Bob Murawski and Amy E Duddleston’s editing is satisfactory but the film could have been shorter by 10 minutes.

The First Omen Movie Conclusion:
On the whole, THE FIRST OMEN has its share of spooky and unexpected moments. But due to disturbing scenes and very limited buzz, it will face a tough time in India. It’ll have a shortened run due to the release of BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN and MAIDAAN next Wednesday, which will also prove detrimental to its lifetime collections.

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