I Capture The Castle |
Momentum Pictures, DVD, 26 January, 2004
Director: Tim Fywell
Actors: Marc Blucas, Rose Byrne
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The story but not the magic
This film faithfully follows the story of Dodie Smith's beautiful and sometimes painful novel, but cannot capture its magic or the lyrical narrative which is so important (and what is really successful) about the novel. Read the book first, then enjoy this film for the pictures!
Passionless, unimaginative but tolerable viewing!!!
I must admit I was rather disappointed with 'I capture the Castle'. I won't go to the bother of retelling the story; previous reviewers have done so. What was good? Very simply the setting is abslutely divine...very fairytale-like, which definitely suited the mood of the story, Dario Marionelli's magical musical score, the costumes and the lead played superbly by Romola Garai, bringing that really likable touch of innocence to this coming of age story. I particularly liked the way alot of the movie was done in voice-over where we got to hear Garai's private thoughts.
What was wrong? Well unfortunately 'I capture the Castle' is one of those films that could have been amazing but ended up leaving the viewer feeling cold and almost wondering what the point of the whole story was. To start with the story is incredibly slow-paced: in the first half this fault is not so apparent due to action taking place however the movie is easily a half an hour too long. Secondly the screenplay is tragically poor. As a lover of costume drama I have become accustomed to well-written dialogues, snappy one-liners and thought-provoking statements that make me grin foolishly. Sadly this was not the case with this film. Such a fault is fatal and destroys all efforts made by the star studded cast to create a masterpiece. Finally there was an annoying lack of chemistry between Romola Garai and her various beaux. This drama is essentially a romantic drama and so such a fault is inexcusable. Not one of the numerous romantic scenes failed to send my heart a flutter.
However for me the film's greatest fault was it's unbelievable lack of passion. Coming of age stories are meant to be funny, fast-paced and filled with an 'anything is possible if you believe' philosophy. This movie, despite looking fantastic, lacked the charm to make it stand alone as a classic. For me that was the catastrophic mistake made. It failed to make me feel walking on air, it failed to make me smile, it failed to ignite any emotion in me whatsoever.
To sum up: 'I capture the Castle' is far from the worst movie I've ever seen but undoubtedly it's a million miles from the best. A good movie in my opinion does the following:
Makes the viewer care about the characters and how circumstances turn out for them. This movie did not really make me feel for the characters in any strong way. While I was mildly interested in finding out what happened to them if a power-cut had occured I probably wouldn't have lost any sleep over not knowing their fate.
Remains in your head for many days after: This movie had been long forgotten the day after viewing.
Creates a desire to see it again: In this case maybe in a few years time.
Watching this movie is not essentially a loss of two precious hours of your life but take my advice borrow it from a friend or better still if it's passionate drama you're after buy 'North and South'.
I can't imagine what other reviewers meant by saying the book got lost - the spirit is super-strong in this adaptation. Anything with Bill Nighy in is worth watching, and the essential madcap spirit of Dodie Smith's loveably dysfunctional family is preserved and heightened.
Strong cast, great story, brilliant locations - and a happy(ish) ending: what more could you want?