A movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock
After New Orleans hospice worker Caroline (Kate Hudson) answers a help wanted ad, she finds herself working as the live-in caretaker of Ben Devereaux (John Hurt), a stroke victim who has lost his ability to speak. Ben's wife, Violet (Gena Rowlands), … see full wiki
After a brilliant turn in Almost Famous (2000), the eternally bubbly and adorable Kate Hudson has not exactly been box office gold, although I thought she was beyond adorable in How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days (2003). Last years The Skeleton Key marks Hudson return to the serious side of acting. And although I enjoyed the movie, I dont believe it was a raging hit at the box office. Does this spell doom for Ms. Hudsons career? Only time and her fan will tell of course.
Directed by Englishman Iain Softley (Hackers, The Wings of the Dove), with screenplay by Ehren Kruger (The Ring, The Ring Two, The Brother Grimm), The Skeleton Key opens with Caroline Ellis portrayed by Kat Hudson (The Four Feathers, Le Divorce, Alex & Emma) reading to a dying man in a hospice where she works. Caroline, a transplant from New Jersey in now inexplicably living in New Orleans with her roommate Jill portrayed by Joy Bryant (Antwone Fisher, Honey, 3-Way). The man dies and Caroline who has become increasingly frustrated and unhappy with her employer because she feels that lack compassion for the dying and dead, seeks other employment opportunities.
So Caroline answers an ad to provide in-home hospice care for a stroke victim, Ben Devereaux portrayed by John Hurt (Dogville, Hellboy, Crime and Punishment), deep in the bayous of southern Louisiana. Her roommate Jill, a life long resident of New Orleans tries to beg her off, but Caroline is determined to take the gig; she planned to use the money she would make to help pay for nursing school. Caroline drives to the house, an old-style plantation house, and meets Luke portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard (The Man In The Iron Mask, The Salton Sea, Garden State) an alleged estate lawyer. He in turn is assisting Violet Devereaux, portrayed by Gena Rowlands (Bonanza, Hope Floats, Taking Lives), get her and her husband Bens affairs together.
Violet isnt happy (supposedly) wasnt happy about needing to hire someone to take care of her husband and she doesnt warm to Caroline immediately. But she accepts the 25-year olds help and soon shows Caroline around, giving her a skeleton key that unlocks all of the doors in the house. Soon Caroline learned that Violet, Ben, Luke, and the house had secrets.
The Skeleton Key is billed as a thriller, and that it is, but it is not a very scary movie; if it was meant to be, it failed to deliver. To be sure there were some moments where the movie will have some holding their breath, but those are few and far between. The movie does deliver heavy dose of suspense however; I never did figure it out until almost the end of the movie.
Director Iain Softley did a fairly good job of keeping the movie rolling at a pretty brisk pace, slowing down the film just long enough to add to the suspense. Kate Hudson turns in an admirable performance, not Oscar worthy mind you, but respectable. Hardly an enthralling persona (Hudson does not have to presence of say Gwyneth Paltrow), Kate nonetheless exudes smoldering sexuality, intelligence, resourcefulness and a likable vulnerability. And Ms. Hudson does double duty as a sexy stage prop spending a fair amount of time is Victorias Secret type panties, and at one point displaying partial nudity (the sides of her breasts).
Gena Rowlands and John Hurt also turn in great performances, as did the rest of the assembled cast. But in the end The Skeleton Key was a rushed production, not enough time was spend on character development and various back stories; for instance a better explanation and exploration of the local religious lore would have lent more weight to the movie and perhaps added to the suspense. If you like Kate Hudson (especially in Victoria Secrets underwear) The Skeleton Key might be well worth your time.
Principle Actors: Joy Bryant, Kate Hudson, John Hurt, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Iain Softley
Format: AC-3, Close-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of Discs: (1)
Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, some partial nudity and thematic material.
Studio: Universal Studios
DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
Run Time: 104 Minutes
DVD Features: Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo); Spanish, French, Commentary by director Iain Softley; The production featurettes "Behind the Locked Door - Making The Skeleton Key" and "Casting The Skeleton Key;" The short featurettes "Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo" (on the history of hoodoo and the religion of voodoo) and "Blues in the Bayou" (the music)," Plantation Life" (the history of plantations), and "A House Called Felicity."
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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