Film #214: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH
Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh
3 out of 5 stars
RUE MORGUE editor, Rodrigo Gudino, does a laudable job his first time in the director’s chair with LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH. The film drips with an obsessive eye to detail (the set design is pretty amazing) and boy… does this director ever love long, Argento-esque tracking shots. The story is a meandering affair that could very well have benefited from some tightening and the acting is a little weak, but neither of those things are what you come to a “haunted house” story. You come for spooky hallways, light and shadow, and eeriestatues that may or may not have just glanced at you. One HUGE plus for the film is the brilliant narration by Vanessa Redgrave (!!!!!) which is reason enough to rent this. Her soliloquys on loss and loneliness… put it this way, having just lost my own mother recently, they are really powerful and delivered well. The nice thing is that Gudino shows a restraint and understanding of the medium in which he is working and acquits himself nicely in his execution. While not the barn burner you’d expect coming from an editor of RUE MORGUE, this film is something even better. It shows a young filmmaker who already understands a) atmosphere, b) pacing, and c) when to steal from The Masters and exactly who to steal from. All of this bodes well for the next film by Gudino. Give him a more focused story and a more solid lead and he could very well deliver something magical. Recommended… with some slight (overlookable) caveats.