Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

Finally caught up with The Other Boleyn Girl yesterday afternoon and all I can say is Yikes. I was a big fan of the 2003 BBC TV version which was shot on miniDV with a tiny budget, minimal sets and Jared Harris as Henry VIII. This big budget studio version was clearly designed to be an "Oscar movie". Not a chance, mate. The great Peter Morgan's script is superficial and historically dubious, clearly written for an American audience in mind. And so here Henry (Eric Bana) was, like, totally manipulated by the scheming Anne, breaking free from Rome and the Catholic Church not because he wanted a male heir, but because he wanted to get laid. Really, really badly. (In fact, religion isn't even an issue in this movie.) All of which might work if there was actually any passion of display. But the sex scenes are so coy it beggars belief. A few soft-focused shots of lurvemaking followed by a shot of the sun coming up. Pur-leaze! Scarlett Johansson as Mary and Natalie Portman as Anne do okay with the English accents but you don't believe a word they're saying. The performances for the most part are flat, the pacing pedestrian, and only David Morrissey's Duke Of Norfolk seems to understand what film he should be in. First-time director Justin Chadwick, a graduate of British telly, strives for epic but serves up compositions that are annoying or just plain baffling. Not good.

5 comments:

Gerard said...

This was great, I actually LOL'd.

Well now, this makes me feel much better for having decided I was sick of this film before I'd seen it - if the movie blows, then thankyou aggressive Australian marketing campaign.

Stram said...

It's not release here yet, and i think i just wanted to go and see it for Portman and Johansson... but wel, i guess i miss it now! Actually, i'm now watching The Tudors, an HBO show, about the same subject (mostly), which is good but not extraordinary, and i wanted to compare the movie with the show...but obviously, the show must be better!

Mark Salisbury said...

Despite the mixed/bad reviews, I wanted to see OBG mainly for the pairing of Portman and Johansson but, trust me, that path only leads to more disappointment.

I haven't seen The Tudors but everything I hear about it makes me think I should...

Fran said...

I think my favourite review of OBG was: "it's like Hollyoaks does British history..."

Fun if you don't think too much. Otherwise, ouch...

Mark Salisbury said...

That is good. I wish I'd thought of that. But, I confess, I spent much time watching with my head in my hands...