MOVIE REVIEWS | INTERVIEWS | YOUTUBE NEWS EDITORIALS | EVENTS | AUDIO | ESSAYS | ARCHIVES | CONTACT | PHOTOS | COMING SOON| EXAMINER.COM FILM ARTICLES |


Friday, October 23, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW
Amelia

"Amelia" Doesn’t Ameliorate
By Omar P.L. Moore / PopcornReel.com
 

 A friendly smile for unfriendly skies: Hilary Swank in "Amelia", directed by Mira Nair.  Fox Searchlight

Mira Nair makes a maiden voyage into American biopic land with “Amelia”, a lush and decorative drama about the legendary Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.  That record-breaking feat occurred in 1932 and the film shows Ms. Earhart as the inspiration to women that she was, especially just a few years after the suffrage movement won women the right to vote in America.  Ms. Nair directs "Amelia" with a discoverer’s pace, although much of what we see feels too staged and stylistically predictable.  For example there's the repetitive color dissolves to black and white intended to represent a verisimilitude and documentary feel; the interspersing of actual newsreel footage, which resonates only at the film’s end.

That said, “Amelia”, which opened across the U.S. and Canada today, is not a total disaster, with two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank readily inhabiting the confident and fearless Earhart without much difficulty -- though there’s something about both Ms. Swank’s performance and the film overall that ring hollow.  Perhaps it’s the surface script by Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan, underdeveloped and cursory both in overall story arc and character development.  As a consequence, the title character feels icy, and like a cardboard cutout.  The writers utilize the books East To The Dawn by Susan Butler and The Sound Of Wings by Mary S. Lovell for their inspiration but the story they've crafted for the big screen feels more like an expedient exercise than an attempt to mine the complexities of a genuine American hero. 

Most distracting however is Richard Gere as George Putnam, the prolific publisher and husband of Ms. Earhart.  Mr. Gere's New York accent goes and comes, and the chemistry between he and Ms. Swank is often brittle.  Ewan McGregor shows up in a cameo role as Jean Vidal, Earhart's lover, but he barely registers in a film that is poorly edited by Allyson C. Johnson and Lee Percy.  And despite an occasionally good music score by Gabriel Yared and colorful cinematography from Stuart Dryburgh, "Amelia" doesn't have much of a flightplan.

All of which is most unfortunate for Mira Nair, who may have got caught up in a Hollywood big-budget whirlwind.  Her talents have long been documented ("Salaam Bombay", "Mississippi Masala", "The Namesake" among others), but her typically vibrant and imaginative canvas is restrained in her direction of "Amelia".  Admittedly it's generally difficult to stray much when directing a serious biopic, especially those on beloved real-life figures but in Ms. Nair's case she and this film deserved to fare much better than its finished product shows.


With: Cherry Jones, Christopher Eccleston, Joe Anderson, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Abrams and Dylan Roberts.

"Amelia" is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking.  The film's running time is one hour and 51 minutes.   Share

COPYRIGHT 2009.  POPCORNREEL.COM.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
                                                                              
                                                 

MOVIE REVIEWS | INTERVIEWS | YOUTUBE NEWS EDITORIALS | EVENTS | AUDIO | ESSAYS | ARCHIVES | CONTACT | PHOTOS | COMING SOON| EXAMINER.COM FILM ARTICLES |