Thursday, 10 September 2009

I Did Not Capture the Castle

Up until two nights ago I had never seen I Capture the Castle. I’d heard some vague banter about it across the internet – blah, blah, blah. But nothing substantial. I’d never checked it out on IMDB, not on Rotten Tomatoes or gone to see what any body important thought of it. Well thanks to TNT I caught it the other morning.
If you’ve heard the phrase coming of age dramas [a cliché by now] then you know what this movie is about. Cassandra is a young English girl living in 20th century England. I don’t care enough to check out the period but I’ll guess it’s the sixties. Her father is a novelist who after releasing a mildly successful first feature has spent twelve years on the sophomore effort. The family is colourful in the largest sense. Their stepmother Topaz, is a nudist model, her brother Thomas is the archetypal know it all, wise beyond his years younger brother. And there is Rose, her older sister who is frustrated with their meagre circumstances and vows to wed a rich man. The Mortmains were once upon a time fairly well off, but now they’re living in partial squalor even though for some inexplicable reason they have a gardener who still refers to the children as Ms. So and so. Of course, the gardener is in love with our ingénue, and she uncertain of her feelings does not believe she can feel anything but filial lover for the poor sod.
The film meets a plot point when two Americans come to the area. They are the nephews of the Mortmain’s now deceased landlord. Of course, they’re rich and of course Rose sets her sights on them. And of course it leads to much dramatics. I can’t write anymore of this film – plot wise, and if you do decide to see it, I won't spoil it for you.
I didn’t like this movie. It’s not a bad movie. Well, not a very bad movie, but it was so pretentious. Why, you may ask, did I stay up at four in the morning to see it? Well, in addition to my insomnia I was curious to see Romola Garai in the lead role. You’ll probably recognise Garai as teenaged Briony from Atonement, a role I think deserved some accolades. Garai is competent in the role, but the script it just gets worse and worse as it continues. The first forty minutes or so, though not excellent, are good enough. In fact for that time I was harbouring on a B, B+. Then, the middle came and it started getting a little ludicrous... Me in my naiveté figured it would pick up towards the end, but alas no.
The film is chequered with some fairly good performances. Tara Fitzgerald as Topaz is excellent. A silly role in all, but she’s almost luminescent. I wonder what she could have done with a proper role. Rose Byrne is capable as Rose…but the role is so stupid sometimes I just wanted to slap her. And I’m a non violent person! Henry Cavill , in the thankless love struck gardener role shows promise. It’s a pity the story doesn’t care about him. In fact the acting is not terrible. But, essentially all the characters are caricatures…and putting it all together made it almost insufferable.
In the end I think I was the wrong audience. Maybe, girls would be more receptive to the film. I can’t be sure. I’ve never been one to baulk at an overly sensitive film. Once it’s well made I really don’t mind. But this just screamed, stereotypical chick flick. And that sucks, I think you ladies deserve much better than this ostentatious and insipid fake.
Sure at the end Cassandra’s sister Rose makes the right decision, the decision I was hoping she’d just make and get on with it. But by that time I was yawning. And not just from sleep depravation. I didn’t care anymore.


RC of strangeculture said...

Interesting thoughts --- I'm interested to see if Romola is able to make the jump into the general "film club" -- I think she's had enough roles to be recognized by modern film gurus, but she hasn't quite made into the critics or the pop culture club.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

RC, I think that Romola really should make it into the film club. She is a talented young actress. She was fine in the film and I believed she was outstanding in Atonement. But she isn't one of those conventional beauties. It's a pity though. She deserves better roles.