Roger The Woman In Black

February 24, 2012 by staff 

Roger The Woman In Black, With Harry Potter behind him now, Daniel Radcliffe acquits himself reasonably well in his first adult big-screen role in “The Woman in Black.”

He plays a young lawyer, a single father and widower with enough conviction to make this spooky period piece credible, though one might wish he’d show a little more fear when confronted by the supernaturally sinister. Maybe you’re not so afraid of ghosts once you’ve faced down Lord Voldemort.

The film is based on Susan Hill’s 1983 novel of the same name about a spectre whose apperances in a small English town foreshadow the deaths of children. Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a failing young barrister in early-’20s Britain who still grieves for a wife who died in childbirth.

But he has a young son to support, so he seizes one last chance to prove himself to his firm by heading to the marshy northeast coast of Britain to rummage through the papers of a family whose abandoned mansion, Eel Marsh, is to be sold.

The residents of the backward little village of Crythin Gifford aren’t very welcoming. Because the film’s opening scene has shown three village girls hurl themselves out of a window, we know there’s tragedy in the air. Only the county’s wealthiest man, Samuel Daily (Ciaran Hinds), will give Arthur the time of day. He hints at an explanation for the apparition Arthur has seen at Eel Marsh, but he dismisses it: “Don’t go chasing shadows, Arthur.”

Naturally, that’s exactly what Arthur does. The house is on an island that’s surrounded by the incoming tide several times a day, so he is stranded there with a jumble of cobwebs and candles for long stretches of time. And no thump of a rocking chair or glimpse of a ghostly woman in a black mourning dress can go without investigation.

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