Joshua Joshua (Jacob Kogan), 9 years old, has a lot in common with the creepy, unsmiling, saucer-eyed demon children who have glowered through many a horror… Joshua Joshua (Jacob Kogan), 9 years old, has a lot in common with the creepy, unsmiling, saucer-eyed demon children who have glowered through many a horror… 2007-07-06 R PT106M Mystery and Thriller Michael McKean Sam Rockwell Fox Searchlight Pictures
Movie Review

Joshua (2007)

MPAA Rating: R
BOY TROUBLE In Joshua , a child of an affluent household (Kogan, standing, with Rockwell and Farmiga) turns to the dark side — really dark
Image credit: JoJo Whilden
BOY TROUBLE In Joshua, a child of an affluent household (Kogan, standing, with Rockwell and Farmiga) turns to the dark side — really dark
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Limited Release: Jul 06, 2007; Rated: R; Length: 106 Minutes; Genre: Mystery and Thriller; With: Michael McKean and Sam Rockwell; Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Joshua (Jacob Kogan), 9 years old, has a lot in common with the creepy, unsmiling, saucer-eyed demon children who have glowered through many a horror film. Disasters tend to happen on his watch; he has a way of suddenly...appearing. The twist in George Ratliff's Joshua, and it's a tasty one, is that everything this bad seed does is really his — and the movie's — way of shining a light upon the sins of his parents, lost in their Upper East Side cocoon. Brad (Sam Rockwell), a backslapping financial hotshot, and Abby (Vera Farmiga), his high-strung wife, have a new infant, and Joshua's hostility toward the baby is the pretext for a stinging satirical thriller: a tale of family bonds in the age of high technology, status fever, and other spurs to contemporary social detachment.

Kogan, with taunting morose lips that give him the look of a prepubescent Glenn Gould, does more than stare deviously. He thinks on camera — he's a wicked little actor. When the family dog dies, the conventional suspense issue of whether Joshua poisoned the animal takes a backseat to the squirminess of his response: He mimics his dad's grief, line by line, as if to reveal how shallow that grief was in the first place. It helps that Rockwell strikes the perfect note of deluded corporate boyishness, and that Farmiga plays Abby's plunge into postpartum depression with a rage that implies a buried resentment of motherhood. Joshua does grow a bit repetitious (it lacks the cathartic climaxes of a horror film), yet it has cool and savvy fun with your fears. B+

Originally posted Jul 10, 2007 Published in issue #944 Jul 20, 2007 Order article reprints
Advertisement

Today's Most Popular

  1. Photo Gallery: American Music Awards 2014 American Music Awards '14: We grade the performances
  2. Photo Gallery: American Music Awards 2014 American Music Awards 2014 style: What the stars wore

From Our Partners