Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Carpenter
The limits to which a good actor can triumph over mediocre material are tested here. Even the best of 'em--and Linney, Wilkinson and Scott are all superior practitioners of their craft--can go only so far in trying to transform the dull into dazzling. Dull wins out here.
An uneasy cross between an episode of TV's Law & Order and The Exorcist, this sluggish supernatural thriller (based on a true story) is about a dead college student, the titular Emily Rose (Carpenter). At issue, and argued at length in courtroom scenes, is whether she died due to demonic possession or medical illness. Representing various points of view are a priest (Wilkinson), who tried to exorcise Emily's demons and is now being tried for negligent homicide, his reluctant attorney (Linney) and the prosecutor (Scott). Neither scary nor intellectually provocative, Emily wastes a good cast and a viewer's time. (PG-13)