This is the latest movie adaptation of a best selling novel that seems to be a bit of a trend lately, what with similar suburban-set books like Gone Girl previously getting the movie treatment. With such things we get the usual, tired reports of ‘its not as good as the book’ yadda yadda. I am not a big reader so approached this from generally favourable word of mouth and the fact it has Emily Blunt in it.
Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic who never got over the failure of her marriage and spends most of her life obsessing over her ex-husband’s new relationship and trying to deal with a growing jealousy. Blunt is one of those dependable actresses, and is incredibly convincing here and after she suffers a black-out following an attack in a tunnel, starts to piece together a mystery involving her ex-husband’s missing nanny. Offering up plenty of red herrings and clues as to what actually happened … with an alcoholic as the lead anything that is recalled is of course open to question. So this made for a rather different take on the who-dunnit than I anticipated.. Add to this decent turns from The Hobbit’s Luke Evans and Justin Theroux and I found myself thoroughly entertainment. Helps that I really felt for Rachel’s plight.
It goes out of it’s way to cleverly fool the viewer and mislead, which was initially confusing, but came together effectively even if I felt rather stupid for not guessing the outcome. An easy recommendation.
The question that immediately springs to mind here is, do we really need another telling of the age-old Musketeers story? Brought to the screen countless times with varying success, this is familiar and well trodden ground, and one may wonder just what a new adaptation can bring that we haven’t seen before. Easy answer – lots and lots and lots of CGI.
Directed by the often underrated Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Event Horizon) this starts well with a welcome swashbuckling introduction to Porthos (Ray Stevensen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), who are double crossed by Aramis’ love interest Milady (Paul W.S. Anderon regular Mila Jovovich) resulting in the three heroes falling from grace. Yet when a plot is uncovered to bring about war, the Musketeers team up with an ambitious but reckless young man called D’Artagnon (Logan Lerman).
Now you may have noticed the lack of star names amongst the cast there, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Thankfully we have Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterdz) on hand to offer villainous duties as the cunning Cardinal Richelieu and a very camp Orlando Bloom as the Duke Of Buckingham, preventing the whole thing from descending into Z-List territory. Sadly though, the feel here is more Monty Python than true blockbuster cinema, and despite some stylish cinematography, great set-design and well shot action – I failed to engage with the often plot-hole laden story or personality-free characters. The less said about the cameo by Brit comedienne James Cordon and the talentless actress (is pouting a talent?) playing D’Artagnon’s love interest … the better.
As it stands, this was still fun and had some pretty cool sequences (who can’t enjoy two flying boats battling it out??) but lacked anything beyond its garish visual-overload to make me recommend it. The forgettable Take That end-credits song says it all. One for fans of the Musketeers only.