Like a livelier, yet absurd version of Girl with a Pearl Earring.
There are some major similarities between Tulip Fever and Girl with a Pearl Earring – both are set in 17th century Holland, involve a portrait painter, and star a beautiful and talented young actress of the day. However compared with its slow-moving yet authentic predecessor, the tale of Tulip Fever is much too far-fetched to be taken seriously.
Orphan Sophia (Alicia Vikander) marries the considerably older Cornelis Sandvoort (Christopher Waltz) as part of a deal in order to leave the orphanage where she lives and send her siblings to live with relatives abroad. Out of obligation to her husband, Sophia does her best to be a good wife in spite of having no feelings for him. That is, until the young artist Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan) is commissioned to paint their portrait.
Alicia Vikander is no doubt a talent, but I feel she was miscast in this role as she is much too stiff to display a compelling amount of emotion. The same goes for Dane DeHaan. What could have been a very special and fascinating relationship between the two characters comes across as mundane and boring. Christopher Waltz is his usual unnerving self and does very well with what he has to work with. Judi Dench is absolutely spot-on in her minor role as the orphanage nun.
On the one hand it’s good that the plot doesn’t just stay in one place – it does twist and turn. However some of the storyline seemed to go completely against the nature of the characters and what they would have done in certain situations.
I can’t fault the costumes and sets, the way it was shot and the overall feel of the film which i’m sure has taken inspiration from paintings of the Dutch masters. However these things don’t do enough to make up for the weaker aspects of the film.
Another film down and it just feels like standard operating procedure. Overly dramatic theme song, Bond using as many different modes of transport as possible, visiting exotic cities, drinking martinis, fast cars, watches, having it away with the women – you get the idea. If that’s all you want from a Bond film, then great. If you expect a little more you may feel somewhat short changed.
This time round, James (Daniel Craig) is in hot water with his new boss, M (Ralph Fiennes). After receiving a tip-off in the mail from the previous M (Judi Dench) now deceased, he embarks on a new mission she has assigned him. Going against all orders, and with the help of colleagues Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Wishaw) he discovers an organisation called Spectre, which threatens the very existence of their secret service.
I was interested in seeing Monica Bellucci but her part is in fact very minor. Léa Seydoux has a considerably greater role than she does. Christoph Waltz is very much the stereotypical baddie, much like an Alan Rickman for our generation. Then there’s Ben Wishaw as Q, I can’t talk about the actors and not mention just how much his character reminds me of Moss from the IT Crowd.
The opening scene does set a high standard. Set in Mexico, at the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, the costumes and overall vibe is really enticing, with pulsing background music and you just wonder what is going to happen next – a great way to open the movie. There is a pretty spectacular fight scene in a helicopter as well. But then as the film progresses it soon relaxes into safe and expected 007 territory.
It feels like the whole Bond film series could really do with a shake-up of sorts. There’s a fine line between being sentimentally endearing and downright predictable. I’m sure fans will be satisfied but I doubt that any will be blown away by this. Perhaps they do need a new actor to play Bond, just to up the interest level. They need something fresh, in any case. Hopefully the next one will wow us a little more!