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.