|The Four Feathers|
Beautifully filmed and performed, this film is much like Kapur's Elizabeth in that it has a lot of visual style that hints heavily at the layers of depth below without ever fully excavating the story's riches. It feels meaningful and profound, but it's really just superficial entertainment. There are several moments of Monty Python absurdity, especially in the astonishing attack scene in which a very Michael Palin-looking Penry-Jones keeps shouting for his men to "return to the square!" On the other hand, Ledger gives a gutsy and involving performance (and obviously does at least one of the dangerous stunts himself!), while Hounsou provides yet another pivotal and imposing character with real life and spirit. As expected with Kapur, the direction, cinematography, art direction, music and costumes are brilliant. Yet the story doesn't quite add up. Themes of bravery, friendship and love are strong and moving, but mixing this unapologetically with what are now archaic British colonial values is a wee bit awkward, to say the least.
dir Shekhar Kapur|
scr Michael Schiffer, Hossein Amini
with Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, Kate Hudson, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Sheen, Rupert Penry-Jones, Tim Pigott-Smith, Alex Jennings, Alek Wek, Kris Marshall, Daniel Caltagirone, Lucy Gordon
release US 20.Sep.02; UK 18.Jul.03
Pre-war. Life is a ball, literally, for Ethne and Harry (Hudson and Ledger) before he's ordered to go to Africa...
|Laurie T, Minneapolis: "I can see why it did not last long at the theatres - I actually got bored! kept waiting for something to happen! Sigh ... like what is the point here?" (16.May.04)|