Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Marie Antoinette

Director/writer/famous daughter Sofia Coppola’s watchword seems to be ‘slow’. Previous films The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation have been slowburn dramas with strangely flat story arcs and no particular climax.

But while these two films have found their strengths in strong character development and emphasis on detail, Marie Antoinette is less successful.

And there’s not even a beheading.

Kirsten Dunst’s French Queen spends her time gambling, eating cake, and having indiscriminate sex with attractive Swedes. Which is all well and good – her husband (Jason Schwartzmann) isn’t particularly interested in doing the nasty with her, and she doesn’t have the first clue about ruling a country.

Then some stuff happens. She wears towering wigs, goes through the entire French supply of shoes, eats more cake, dances to The Cure, faces the requisite angry-mob-with-flaming-pitchforks. Oh yeah, and pops out a couple of kids along the way.

There are some highlights. Rose Byrne’s party-girl is a delight, as is Rip Torn as the lecherous king. And every now and then Kirsten Dunst shows some real insight into her character’s emotions... and her backside and nipples. Plus there’s some funny stuff about sex. Which is good. If only the contemporary winks and nudges hadn’t worked so much better in A Knight’s Tale.

You can’t help feeling that Coppola has missed the point… and along with her, so have we.

No comments: