Doubt and Revolution Plague The Duchess

SPOILER ALERT:  Her hair does catch on fire!

With the debates and baseball playoffs still holding most of my attention, films have had to take a backseat.  So I’m eschewing my traditional review format here for the moderately successful The Duchess.  Saul Dibb’s “inspired by a true story” costume drama about the Duchess of Devonshire is a fairly entertaining run-of-the-mill feminist bodice-ripper.  It’s one of those movies impeccably shot, full of costumes and pageantry, and featuring A-class acting that is hard to dislike, but just doesn’t have that special “it” due to our familiarity with this stereotypical story of a woman of immense wealth and power who is forced to chose between her true feelings and what society demands of her.  In the titular role, Keira Knightley acts the hell out of her part, and for the first time, seems to fully inhabit that old-school “Movie Star” mold.  Ralph Fiennes, as the Duke, delivers a master-class in the portrayal of an elitist creep.  It’s another classic turn from the chameleon-like British thespian who really should have had an Oscar on the mantle a long time ago.  Featuring hearty doses of smarmy satire and stuffy 18th-century social mores, The Duchess is no Barry Lyndon, but it fits the bill as an HBO-style production of Masterpiece Theater.

However, I couldn’t help but think the best things about this recent trip to the cinema were the trailers, and thoughts of the film teasers oddly plagued my devouring of the main course.  Yes, there was the preview for Oliver Stone’s inexplicable W (opening next week) which looks funnier and funnier with each new TV spot.  But there were also two subtly thrilling trailers for some prime-time Oscar bait:  In one corner, we have what looks to be a stunning film adaptation of a controversial stage-play that touches on the Catholic abuse scandals among other heady topics starring a habited Meryl Streep, a frocked Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a perfectly cast Amy Adams as a naive nun.  I have faith no art-house film buff will want to miss Doubt.  In the other corner is Sam Mendes seemingly stirring and evocative adaptation of Richard Yate’s novel, Revolutionary Road, staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a young couple on the brink of emotional ruin in a 1950’s suburban purgatory.  The cinematography and the acting in this, as in Doubt, looks to be amazing.  While a perfectly adequate The Duchess will quickly fade from memory, these two films, based on their trailers and pedigree, look to be the type that viewers and critics will write home about at the end of the year.  I can’t wait.

To watch the trailers, visit:

W:  http://www.wthefilm.com/

Doubt:  http://www.apple.com/trailers/miramax/doubt/

Revolutionary Road:  http://www.revolutionaryroadmovie.com/

CAPTION:  Thank god we’re off that sinking ship!

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4 comments on “Doubt and Revolution Plague The Duchess

  1. Mary says:

    If Revolutionary Road is as good as the trailer, watch out. No one would care about this except me, but the song in the trailer, Wild is the Wind, is an all-time David Bowie favorite of mine from the Station to Station album. (Originally for the movie Wild is the Wind and recorded by Johnny Mathis)

    Mary, I agree. I was on the fence about this film when I first heard of it, but the trailer is masterful, and I love the way they utilize the song. Great song…great trailer…and hopefully a great movie. –DHS

  2. W – the film. Maybe I actually have to break a rule of mine and watch this on the big screen. Thanks for pointing it out, Dave.
    Oliver Stone directed. Hmm, we couldn’t go wrong – could we??
    Rebecca~

    Rebecca, I’ll definately be trying to catch this one in the theater–should be very very interesting to see what Stone does with good ol’ Dubya. –DHS

  3. kim says:

    Congratulations, this is a very good site,i love this kind of movies, i find another very good site of movie trailer videos http://movietrailersvideos.blogspot.com enjoin it.

  4. I saw the film and was totally taken by the story of this person who has a strong mind, very smart and political. Her personality is squashed by society of the day and her husband. Film stars aside, this is an historical gem that highlights the role of women at that time.

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