Did Hilary Swank, above, just smell the movie she’s in? Yes, the $12 million, extended holiday weekend haul for The Reaping is already more than the entire domestic receipts garnered by Swank’s “artistic” leading lady debut, Boys Don’t Cry (we won’t count The Next Karate Kid).
Still, the fact remains that audiences don’t seem particularly drawn to
Swank in anything other than asexualized roles, and thus their mandate on her as a leading lady could
best be described as neither-here-nor-there. Swank, it seems, is both pigeonholed and not heartily loved. If
audiences are predisposed to the genre or material, they might give it
a look; otherwise, they’re looking past Swank, not at her.
In The Reaping, that would be with good reason. Directed by
Stephen Hopkins, the movie is a religious-tinged supernatural thriller
that feels absolutely dutiful in all its included and (loudly) sounded
beats. It’s a given that the project was green-lit as both a reflective
sign of these troubled, uncertain times and an attempt to tap into the
evangelical market via genre product. The somewhat crass manner in which The Reaping ties together
haunted personal experience with its main story of quasi-apocalyptic
mayhem, though, feels like some studio note passed down a secular
executive who heard from his assistant, or maybe his teenage daughter, about a piece on Slate that described the “mysterious” but deeply held faith-based beliefs of those in flyover country. For the full review, from FilmStew, click here.