****/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B+
starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter
screenplay by Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
directed by David Yates
by Walter Chaw It's a blasted earth, this green that holds Hogwarts now, and during a scene where our hero wizard is being tortured into forgetfulness for his own good, director David Yates cues a blanket of forgetful snow to fall. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (hereafter Harry Potter 5) is, likes its title suggests, a startling return to form for the series after Alfonso Cuarón's exceptional Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was followed by the insipid contribution of rom-com specialist Mike Newell. Gratifyingly complex and deliciously Freudian, a moment where Harry loses the last of his family--mirroring a moment in the third film where, on the banks of a lake, he almost loses himself--is preceded by an identical progression from the third film in which he's mistaken for his own father. Alas this time, Harry's not able to affect positive change in the guise of his dad; it's the boy becoming the man, frustrated and folded into a world of dread and doom. As drawn in the film, Potter's universe is like Potter's Field, a place where strangers and orphans are buried on the eve of war and a child's unavoidable matriculation into corruption. Harry Potter 5 is dark as pitch: unsettling, unsettled, unresolved, and utterly remarkable.