Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Review: Belle

World of Blackout Film Review

Belle Poster

Cert: 12A / 104 mins / Dir. Amma Asante
WoB Rating: 5/7

Far closer in tone to 2013's Lincoln than the 12 Years train the media seem to be pushing it onto, Belle doesn't come across quite as powerfully as its makers intended it to, although it's still a very fine film.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson are exceptional as the central character Dido Elizabeth Belle and her well-meaning, if fusty uncle, Lord Mansfield. Everyone else's performance seems a little over-worthy however, and the cast often stumble over their formal, stilted dialogue. We're treated to an altogether impressive ensemble, but it seems almost as if they're too hesitant in the scenes which require them to be the outright racists the screenplay requires, like they're afraid the clips will be used out of context, somehow. Because of this, the film lacks the conviction you know it should have. If anything, I'm surprised at how 'gentle' the drama is, given that some aspects of the story have already been adapted for the screen.
Belle is certainly an engaging enough period-piece, but in different hands it I think it could have been so much more; a picture which needed to be painted with bolder colours.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
For the most part.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I don't think it does.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
This is a Sunday-night DVD.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point, but there's no burning urge at the moment.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't. Who would have thought it?.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Is Tom 'Draco Malfoy' Fenton actually going to get some roles which don't require him to be A Sneering Arsehole™? Only I'm starting to think he's either been typecast, or he's not actually acting at all…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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