RSS
 

Archive for the ‘GENRE: CIRCUS STORY’ Category

Water For Elephants

24 Apr

Water For Elephants — Directed by Frances Lawrence. Romantic Drama. A young man finds himself drawn to a female circus elephant and the elephant’s female mahout. 122 minutes Color 2011.

* * *

The best English speaking circus film I know of is Elia Kazan’s Man On A Tightrope. I had hoped to find a better one here, but I didn’t. Kazan’s film focuses upon the circus world itself, its filth, its color, its performers, its hard work, its living conditions, its prejudices and superstitions, its meanness, its generosity, its equipment, its grandeur, and its magic. There we find a world exotic to us, a hell realm and an imagined paradise in one, and in Elephants whenever the camera shows this side of things our interest is piqued. But here the focus is on the Romance, but the Romance is pink cotton candy. Perhaps this is because the two romantic leads are miscast. They both lack the idiosyncrisity, strength, and energy of vulgarity. Reese Witherspoon’s hair is never out of incredible curl, and the young man is colorless. Both are good looking enough, and while one believes from their not unskillful playing that a mild attraction exists between them, it is never to the degree big enough for a big top. This is the fault of a story polluted by the effeminitization of Romance writing. Standing between these two dolls is Christoph Waltz; he plays her husband, the mad owner of the circus. His smile, full of saliva and not one drop of joy, occupies the entire cinemascope screen from one end to the other. Whenever he appears, this becomes the circus, and we have seen it before, in Inglorious Basterds, where its ivory munched all Europe. It seems less suitable here, an exaggeration vying with an exaggeration, the circus itself. It’s not fair to judge a picture because it’s not the same as another picture, for this is a Romance film and Tightrope isn’t. However, I did not care a fig whether the two of them got together or not. It is well directed and magnificently produced; Rodrigo Prieto filmed it beautifully. Jim Norton is excellent as the drunk foreman and Mark Povinelli as the dog trainer, but the only individual I really cared about in this film was Rosie the elephant. She was my darling. I’m not good at predicting what will happen in a film, but here I knew that Rosie would wipe that smile permanently off his face as soon as they met. Predictable is not what a circus should be.

[ad#300×250]

 
 
Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button