The Beguiled Review
Director: Sofia Coppola.
So, this is visionary Sofia Coppola's adaptation of Thomas Cullinan's '66 titular novel and not a remake of Don Siegel's titular, 70's classic with Farrell taking Clint Eastwood's place as the injured unionist soldier, McBurney rescued, yet kept captive in a girl's school in Virginia during the American civil war.
That might sound sinister, and though the story is more about temptation, attraction and seduction, it does escalate quickly and takes a turn for the worse as each of the main characters plot for attention of the wounded soldier while he gets what he so desires, resulting in inevitable spiteful jealously among the young women.
Her artful brilliance is undeniable, winning her Best Director at this year's Cannes Film Festival and even Quentin Tarantino hosting a private double screening of both adaptations with Coppola in attendance herself. It's filmed constantly through some kind of vignette filter attached and in an interesting ratio that gave the film, what I can only describe as having tunnel-vision.
As for being a period drama, the location, production design and costumes were perfect. You can tell a lot of hard work went into the costumes and make-up, it's just a shame that the overall film gives everything that murky tint but it's probably true to form and I'm assuming Coppola went for natural light.
There's great performances from the entire cast, with Kidman taking the lead as the head of the house supported superbly by Dunst, Fanning and Farrell giving what he states as his favourite shoot of his career due to Coppola's directing style and the rest of cast.
Though the performance are good and the story intriguing, it unfortunately contains nothing of any real substance. Possibly because the underlining ideals and motivations of these characters are not explored enough. Plus the exclusion of Hallie, the slave girl from the novel and Siegel's film strips away an important part of the story; though this shouldn't really have any effect on viewers unfamiliar with the source material.
It's certainly not going to be everyone's film and is most likely to get overlooked and maybe even shunned by fans of the original material, or Siegel's film. I feel it missed it's mark and fell quite a distance from being a masterpiece. Tarantino can obviously see something else that I can't.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 2
The Extra Bonus Point: 0