Dorian's Movie Reviews

Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.  
Scale 1 - 5
The Mothman Prophecies
2001, Screen Gems
Directed by Mark Pellington
Written by Richard Hatem
Based on a novel by John Keel

In The Mothman Prophecies, top journalist John Klein (Richard Gere), loses his wife, Mary (Debra Messing), to a brain tumor which is discovered as the result of an automobile accident. The cause of the accident is unknown, but before she dies she makes sketches of some supernatural creature called the Mothman. She implies that the creature caused the car wreck. Two years later John leaves for an assignment in Richmond, Virginia, but finds himself in Pleasant Point, West Virginia, unable to explain how he got there.

John is quickly drawn into a recurring town mystery, which no one wants to talk about. In unraveling the mystery, what appears? The same image, the Mothman. What does it mean? It seems to bear terrible news of some accident that is about to happen. But what? And is this thing a monster that will cause the accident, destroying everyone who is drawn in? Or is the creature trying to warn them of something? While investigating, John becomes involved with Connie Parker (Laura Linney), one of the town's police officers, but he fears he is losing his sanity.

The Mothman Prophecies is a "scary" story, depending on individual reaction. Compelling real events have been woven with fiction into an intriguing story. John Klein is a top journalist, who is sucked into a web of supernatural mystery that unfolds over two years, beginning with the death of his wife. Opposite John is Connie Parker, who becomes his love interest, poetic justice for the loss of his wife. Connie is not simply his love interest - she is tightly woven into the story to bring John to reality, while events put her in peril at the end.

Who... or what... is the Mothman? If there was a superhero emanating from the supernatural world, would the Mothman be that hero? Or is this mass hysteria and people are seeing and hearing things, and aligning events to match their preconceptions? Not only entertaining, this is an intriguing story that people may take home with them. Devotees of the supernatural, and others, may take a fascinating look into the aura of real events on which this story is based.

An excellent cast delivered convincing performances. Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a powerful journalist who weighs the evidence and wonders if he is losing his own mind. Will Patton (currently on the TV series, The Agency), delivered a very believable performance as Gordon Smallwood, a self-doubting reformed alcoholic who is now seeing visions and hearing voices. In what is a very small piece, Lucinda Jenney delivers as well with hardly more than a few looks, as Gordon's wife, Denise Smallwood. And in Laura Linney's portrayal of Officer Connie Parker, we can believe that she is the pretty but down-to-earth person who rescues John from falling headlong into a supernatural quagmire.

This movie did a whale of a lot of things well. I give this one four spotlights out of a possible five for the writing, acting, directing, production design, casting, editing, music, and cinematography. It carries a PG-13 rating for some terror, and some sexuality and language. Enjoy!

- Dorian


  • 5 Spotlights: The best of movie making, well worth seeing
  • 4 Spotlights: Good movie for the genre; may have minor technical or story problems but they hardly harm the enjoyment; clearly worth seeing; (most movies)
  • 3 Spotlights: Not bad, but has problems - worth seeing
  • 2 Spotlights: Caution - a "B" movie, probably will appeal only to some
  • 1 Spotlight: Caution - not recommended for any audience (will probably never be given)

Note: No half spotlights are given.

My reviews are not based much on my personal taste, or any standard besides entertainment value. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.

- Dorian Scott Cole

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