Tuesday, 14 April 2015

REVIEW - WOMAN IN GOLD (SIMON CURTIS)


I suppose this is how Hollywood sees history, even as it tries to present it in the terms of today. Woman in Gold is an alarming spectacle of the past repackaged for the present, its every creative endeavour seemingly drafted to undermine the immense gravity of its foundational material. Would that Nazis and the European bourgeoisie made far less ripe pickings for first-rate historical dramas, that second and third-rate filmmakers wouldn't care to cash in; would that Woman in Gold were allowed artists of even that measly talent. This is an affront to the tale it tells, directed in a pedestrian manner by the lazy Simon Curtis, whose approach appears to be to permit the material to shine in itself - Woman in Gold's 'material' amounts to a fraught, fascinating story, a pair of reasonable performances in the lead roles and an execrable screenplay by Alexi Kaye Campbell (it's his first, and you'd know it). Helen Mirren hams it up and Ryan Reynolds hums along - they meet somewhere in the middle of their respective abilities and generate fine chemistry, but only ever in service of a simple, soapy purpose, nothing like the fantastic, astonishing drama that Woman in Gold purports to depict. That unavoidable drama, in every last element of this incredible true story, provides perhaps this film's only positive attribute on a significant scale; it is, otherwise, wholly prosaic and, thus, an egregious offense to the magnificence of its inspirations.