Bel Amii is a loose retelling of the Maupassant novel by an entirely unknown director. This looseness is not markedly detrimental to the new piece ; the superb sets and costumesii allow it to breathe its own breath and live its own life. No it's not Bel Ami the book - it is Bel Ami the film, and it stands very well on its own.
Robert Pattinson (the leading man) is unremarkable other than having a very nice back. Kristin Scott Thomas is consistent, and in her case consistent means good. Uma Thurman comes off as a very good actress, doing work on the level of Dangerous Liaisons and The Producersiii, as opposed to the sad atrocities she did for Tarantinoiv. She's still ugly, though, but at least here they have the sense to not display her paddlefeet.
Christina Ricci is very convincingly the woman, in the traditional (and period-adequate) sense of the term : "endless is the power of the sea, because anything it will carry". She'll take all abuse, bruise a little, heal soon thereafter and smile sweetly forevermore. The species is built on this, like it or not, and Ricci gets it across splendidly.
For all those merits it still didn't do very well at the box officev, which is shocking and unfortunate. Watching Bel Ami certainly beats watching Transformers or Whatever-Man or whatever the fuck they guzzle their flavoured fizz with.———
- 2012, by Declan Donnellan, with Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas. [↩]
- Decorations by Anna Lynch-Robinson (well done on those lamps!), costumes by Odile Dicks-Mireaux, art direction by Zsuzsanna Borvendeg and set design by Atilla F. Kovacs.
These people managed to support the director and cast through 102 minutes of period dress and interiors without bothering my easily bruised senses once.
Yes, here and there the people wouldn't have done that or said that, not for their life, not in a million years, nor could ever have as much as conceived of such. True.
But they'd have not done or not said it quite credibly at that very table, rather obviously under tassels altogether similar, there's a perfection of detail that I can't explain other than by thinking the people involved actually grew up among surviving artefacts of the very period in question. Living memory, there's no other explanation for such quality of work.
It is a rare priviledge, to enjoy correct period sets. [↩]
- Which I can't believe I never actually reviewed ?! [↩]
- God almighty, was there anything worse than Kill Bill ? Except of course for Kill Bill 2. [↩]
- 38k opening weekend, 120k total US gross ? Call them UStards and let them be, Jesus F. Christ, what was the problem, not enough fat midwestern chicks guzzling Coors while dressed in bedsheets to tickle your "historical sense" ?
They drank Coors in Rome, right ? [↩]