Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wings of the Dove. C+

'Wings of the Dove' is based off a Henry James novel which I haven't read or seen the length of. So of course I can't really make an honest assessment in comparing the book and the film. But from watching the movie, I got the sense that it was one of those adaptations that cuts out a lot from the book, sort of like the version of 'Les Miserables' with Liam Neeson. The kind of movie that leaves out all those little pleasures and dialogues and small supporting characters for the sake of keeping the running time down. Now, you're hearing this from an uneducated source, because, as mentioned, I've never read the book. But I just looked on Amazon and the paperback addition of James' novel is 608 pages. The film, at 100 minutes, felt too small. It didn't seem rushed. On the contrary, it was rather slow and relaxed. But I felt like I wasn't getting everything that can be found in the book. The good news is that the story is a good one: at first it looks like that romantic tale that we've seen far too many times before where the young royal lady falls for a poorer, working class man. But that girl (Helena Bonham Carter) turns out to be more devious than expected. She meets a friend and together they go to Venice where her friend proceeds to fall deathly ill. Knowing that her friend is dying, Bonham Carter's character summons her lover to Venice so that he'll fall in love with her friend and then receive her fortune when she dies. 'Wings of the Dove' is a stylish period piece with nice sets and costumes and good performances all around. But it didn't quite work for me. It's one of those well-made movies that I just didn't really like very much. And I was complaining about how it probably cuts out a lot from the novel. Of course I shouldn't complain since I haven't read it. But if I had, and then saw this film, I bet you I'd be disappointed.

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