Regression is about a troubled cop, Ethan Hawke, who is investigating the case of a young woman, Emma Watson, who has supposedly been abused by her father as part of a satanic cult. The film is set in 1990 and is attempting to put every case of satanic cultism around that time down as hysteria or revengeful lying.
This film is dull, slow moving and barely worth a watch. With a topic as strong as satanic cults you would expect it to be quite an exciting watch, but not even Ethan Hawke could save this disaster. Although it has glimpses of being an interesting film with the mysterious dreams the cop is having they never lead to anything.
For the first time on any of these reviews, there were absolutely no notable performances. Ethan Hawke was like a piece of cardboard that had been left in the rain for too long, soggy and unstructured. Emma Watson overacted and came across as whiny, as per usual. David Thewlis could have been great, but he either didn’t get enough screen time or was thrown off by Ethan Hawkes performance.
Perhaps the awful performances are down to the director and writer Alejandro Amenábar and his shoddily written characters. Or perhaps the issue was a writer trying to maintain his exact vision with absolutely no compromise to make it work for the screen. Whatever it was, it should have definitely been better.
Despite all the negativity for this film, I have to admit that there were some really nice shots. Like when Ethan Hawke’s character is dreaming about being forced to join the cult there is a great sense of colour and movement to keep us on edge as he utters the words “I’m not one of you”. Costume and makeup are both used very well here too.
Let’s recap. This is a dull, boring and slow moving film with bad performances from, normally, half decent actors. Despite the potential to be a great film due to being based on an intriguing premise, Alejandro Amenábar failed to pull it off.