I remember Christian criticisms of this film that it glorifies the power of evil and shows good as a helpless force against it. I agree to some extent. Damien's character is definitely written to be a weak man. In fact, I was almost expecting the Exorcist to send him home and request a stronger assistant. The Exorcist, on the other hand I found to be a man of very impressive strength. He shows such calm determination during the long exorcism scene.... Very impressive. He and Damien are sort of opposites of eachother: while Damien has health and physical strength his faith is weak, and the Exorcist is physically frail, but a spiritual strongman. His strength was so palpable that I just knew that the only way he could fail was if the demon would physically destroy him.
The question that this seems to lead to is, Is Damien's sacrifice at the end, his command to the demon to "take him" and his subsequent suicide a redeeming act of faith, or a final concession to his weakness? He seems to be motivated by the death of the Exorcist, so it seems like this certainly an act of desparation. His hope was that this great man would be able to heal Regan, but when that hope is doomed he takes the last route he can see. Again, I can see two sides: an act of desparation is not an act of resignation. His action shows that Damien is determined to go to any length to save Regan and he at least has some faith that he can do so in taking the demon upon himself. On the other hand, it's an act of weakness in the same way that suicide is always (please no one feel I'm being insensitive by saying this), always an act of weakness. Life has just become too hard to endure. In Damien's case, rather than recollect his faith and continue the Exorcist's work through prayer and scripture, he chooses to take an easier shortcut (which was what the demon wanted anyway, it said as much in the conversation with Damien where it said that it was looking forward to getting to know him better during the exorcism.
But still, "Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends." The more I think about it, the more I feel like Damien's final actions elevate, rather than lower, my feelings toward his character. Had the Exorcist himself been successful, Damien would haven't undergone any change or growth through the movie. His final act seems to be an improvement upon his character, though perhaps less of one than you would hope he could make....
Oh yeah, I really liked it. I don't think I'll ever see it again, except to watch it with someone who hasn't seen it before, but I really enjoyed the emphasis the film placed on the limits of science against the supernatural. I don't know if the filmmaker was a Christian or not, but except *perhaps* for elevating Damien's character I don't know what more the film could have done to paint the church as a relevant institution. The bit with the Ouiji board and the desicrated Madonna actually reminded me of a Chick tract I know that stuff is real sometimes, but those things have gone quite a ways in building up more cynicism within me than is probably healthy.
Edited by solishu, 29 August 2005 - 04:33 AM.