Thursday, September 25, 2008

"The Duchess"

It seems I've always had an aversion to historical dramas filled with frilly dresses and powdered wigs. That distaste, paired with the fact that Keira Knightley has the tendency to bore me to tears, I was not especially looking forward to "The Duchess," a historical drama featuring Keira Knightley in lots of frilly dresses and powdered wigs. In fact, back in December or so, you may recall me declaring it my least anticipated movie of 2008. Well, holy shit, I liked it. I won't speak of the production values -- cinematography, costumes, score, etc -- because they're great, but so what? They're always great in every one of these sort of movies, and it's never enough to engage me. What's worth mentioning about "The Duchess" is that it's actually entertaining. While maybe some won't love the consistent semi-soap opera chain of dramatic events that propel the film, but hey, I'm not above admitting that a constant stream of *gasp* things actually happening is what it takes to get me invested in a movie like this. Knightley, as Georgina Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, is about as stiff as usual, but with this material and time period, it actually seems appropriate, so it didn't bother me much. British-hunk-of-the-month Dominic Cooper smolders and raises his voice a lot as Georgina's lover, the 1700s' answer to Barack Obama ("Change is upon us!"), while Ralph Fiennes, as her cold, philandering husband, the Duke, comes off the best out of anyone, managing to make the familiar character archetype the most engaging figure in the film. I can't guarantee that anyone who hates big-dresses-and-wig movies will dig the proceedings here, but you don't get much more loathe to this genre than I, and I sat alert, entertained and involved for 105 minutes.


Post a Comment

<< Home