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Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Beguiled (2017)

Toward the end of the Civil War, a wounded Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) is discovered in the woods near a girls school. He is taken in by the school's headmistress (Nicole Kidman) and his wounds tended to but the soldier isn't eager to leave. This is a remake of the 1971 Don Siegel film which in turn was adapted from the book THE PAINTED DEVIL by Thomas P. Cullinan and directed by Sofia Coppola. I have nothing against remakes on principle and I'm a huge admirer of Siegel's film so I was eager to see what Coppola brought to the table. Sadly, not much. It's not a bad film by any means, quite the contrary but it fails on almost every level when comparing it to the 1971 film. I think it was a mistake to eliminate the film's one black character and the elimination of the incest backstory weakens Kidman's character. Farrell doesn't bring the "alpha male" the way Clint Eastwood did. Eastwood was a real fox in the hen house and there was sexual tension. Farrell, at least in the beginning, is kind of a sweet blob and doesn't pose the immediate sexual threat the way Eastwood did. I hesitate to call it a noble failure since it's much better than that but still. It's also one of the ugliest looking movies I've ever seen, who needs a lighting director when you have candles? With Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.  

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