Winterís Tale (8/10)
an odd, metaphysical time warp movie written and directed by Akiva
Goldsman, in his directorial debut, based on the huge, 700 page novel by
Mark Helprin. Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is the seemingly eternal orphan
who falls hopelessly in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay),
a love that lasts over a century, starting in New York City in the 1916.
film starts, however, in 1895 with Peter Lakeís immigrant parents
casting him into a small boat ŗ la Moses off of their ship which is
heading back to Europe, when they are denied entry into the United
States. Peter has inside him a miracle meant for just one person, one
life to save. Itís up to Peter to find that person.
years later heís a thief for Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), who is a
demon reporting to Lucifer (Will Smith). Pearly acts as Fagin for Peter,
but Peter is just too good a person for Pearly and goes out on his own.
If you donít measure up to Pearlyís evil standards, you pay with your
life. Pearly somehow knows that Peter has this miracle and he wants to
kill Peter before he can achieve it. Peter is aided by a magical horse
that shows up at key moments in the film.
the movie and you find this out in the first half hour. The rest of the
film is a beautiful, well-acted love fantasy burdened by the fear of
Pearlyís vengeance, ending in present day New York City, which finds
Pearly and Peter the same age they were in 1916.
Goldsman directs with a deft touch. Although almost two hours is too
long for a movie of this sort, I didnít find myself looking at my watch
too many times because the story grabbed me and the acting is so good.
The chemistry between Farrell and Findlay is palpable.
is an actor of huge potential who seems to be underused. Here he gets
the chance to exhibit range that hasnít been available in other roles.
Findlay is a beautiful, lovable woman and itís understandable that a man
could fall in love with her forever. Crowe is a fine hateful villain.
wimpy portrayal of Lucifer is the only weak point of the film. It might
not be Smithís fault, however, because the character has been extremely
poorly drawn. But, even so, a better actor could have done a lot more
with the role. Smith acts like he just wants to get his scenes over with
and get out of there. Had I been directing, I would have looked at the
dailies and given him a quick pink slip, given that he is in so few
scenes itís little more than a cameo anyway. Too bad Jack Cassidy isnít
still around. He knew how to play evil, and could have given the part
the extra oomph that's missing from the script. That's what separates a
good actor from the mediocre.
Speaking of cameos, itís good to see Eva Marie Saint again and that she
hasnít lost a step.
from Smith, this is a thought-provoking, beautifully filmed (Caleb
Deschanel, whose cinematography is award-quality) romance.