Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Painted Veil: Grade D


The Painted Veil (2006)

Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber, Toby Jones. Director John Curran.

You have to be a fan of Somerset Maugham novels to appreciate this sluggish movie. With Maugham you are supposed to get into the mind of the characters and experience life as they do. But these characters are not developed enough for that, leaving only a series of scenes that don’t add up to anything. Norton is a bacteriologist who takes his wife, Watts, to central China between the world wars to fight cholera in villages. He is utterly without emotional expression and thus a cipher both to his wife and to the viewer. Watts’ character is emotionally abandoned, frustrated, and purposeless. In bored desperation she signs up to care for cholera stricken children at a Catholic missionary. There are rumors of civil war. Villagers die of cholera. And so on. The cinematography is well done and the movie is perhaps worth watching for that. Toby Jones gives a small but well-executed performance but overall, this is a tragic waste of acting talent.

No comments:

Post a Comment