Saturday, 14 November 2009
Romola, Romola, Romola! (Garai) You must get yourself a good film, something to launch you into that international stardom you deserve! This vehicle just isn't going to get you there. You are the best thing about this dreadful doesn't-know-what-it-wants-to-be, entirely-derivative-in-a-bad-way (Hitchcock, Polanski, Merchant & Ivory--what a cocktail!) piece of selloutuloid. Besides you, your clothes are the next most watchable thing about the movie but certainly not anywhere near on a par with, say, those in Broken Embraces or Bright Star. Bill Nighy and David Tennant exhibit the pitiful acting they are capable of but I blame the writer/director Stephen Poliakoff who should stick to tv. (I am not dissing tv. I actually think the best writing is happening for tv in this moment in time. His stuff for tv just works better.) A cameo by Julie Christie threw me for a bit as it took me a while to recognize her (still beautiful but this ageing thing is just too weird and awful) and her perfomance was as good as it possibly could be.
I saw this at the BFI (British Film Institute) with a question and answer session afterwards which couldn't save the evening but made it a little less of a total loss. Romola was articulate and adorable and falsely humble in that wonderfully British way. Poliakoff was terribly inarticulate going on and on about how the UK was a hair's breadth away from being a Nazi state in 1939 due to a strong push by the aristocracy towards appeasement (an excellent point/idea/subject here tragically thrown away to bad art), and Bill Nighy was the sophisticated ham we expect him to be.