July 30, 2009
A quite entertaining costume drama filled with intrigue and debauchery. Integrity was highly prized and rarely found in the court of Louis XIV. Vatel (Gerard Depardieu) is in charge of providing lavish entertainment and banquets for the king's visit and discharges his duties without flaw. So much so, that his services are required at Versailles, but at a cost too dear for this man of humble origins. The cast is superb (Thurman and Roth bear special mention), the scenery is extravagent, and the story has enough twists and turns to keep the viewer engaged for its near two hour length. The costuming and sets alone are worth the price of admission. At a time when a king's displeasure was paid for with one's life, and honor often took a back seat to expediency, a man like Vatel invited envy as well as admiration. And in rare instances the affections of a lady.
December 24, 2009
A food movie, but more than that...excuse me, while I step outside and fall on my sword.
Bonus Points: Uma Thurmond
June 28, 2009
The unbelievability of Depardieu and Thurman as lovers is just one of many problems with this highly fictionalized historical drama. Though there were some interesting sets and fire-work displays, the movie is a hodge-podge of French history trivia which never pulls together to form an interesting or coherent story. There were so many other interesting (and true) tales that could have been told about this era, that the choice of trying to make Vatel worthy of a movie seems unnecessary.
September 16, 2007
This is a beautiful film, with fine location shots and beautifully dressed sets. Again, it's disconcerting to start a scene outside Chantilly, walk through a door, and find yourself at Maisons-Lafitte; still more to go from one room to the next and find yourself at the Hotel de Toulouse--now the Banque de France. And of course no modern film can convey 1 percent of what it was to be at the court of Louis the Great. And there's not one single thing in this screenplay that doesn't come straight out of Nancy Mitford's The Sun King. Still, it is worth seeing--a kind of photo album of one's childhood days. And they did have sense enough to cast a young, good-looking man (Julian Sands) as Louis XIV, and to take a chance by casting the totally inexperienced Irish poet Murray Lachlan Young as Monsieur, the king's brother. All things considered, very well worth seeing.
February 25, 2007
I totally love Gerard. He is a spectacular actor and his work in this movie I think is the best I've seen thus far. A very beautiful movie.
August 1, 2006
Artsy movie about how a chef gets caught up in the grandoise tyranny of Louis XIV (and invents whipped cream)
November 13, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
August 12, 2013
Gorgeous music and fantastic costumes can't make up for the fact that the movie is generally uninteresting.
March 29, 2012
Hom-hum period piece. I was hoping for more from the cast but alas, it was not meant to be. The slow, annoying score only contributed to the picture's dreary feel.
November 19, 2010
Maybe Vatel lacks drama and a hotter romance between the lead characters, but the movie is so wonderfully opulent that becomes hard to forget. I really had a great time watching the amazing things this man had to organize and coordinate to please his extravagant king. Depardieu and Thurman are terrific but Roth is kind of wasted as the villain, I thought he was going to be even more threatening here and he wasn't, he got lost in the mix.
January 25, 2010
(** 1/2): Thumbs Down
I liked the cast but the film just didn't get me all that interested with it. A near-miss.
January 12, 2010
With Vatel, starring such actors as Gérard Depardieu, Tim Roth, and Uma Thurman, one would expect at the very least, a decent historical drama. But, au contraire, the film is riddled with issues and is bogged down by a weak plot, lack of character depth, and a weak acting-directing combo among other things.
A critical mistake was the selection of a director seemingly without much talent for directing. Roland Jofeé, known for his bizarre and much despised rendition of "The Scarlet Letter" and the critical and commercial flop ?Captivity,? presents a disorganized film devoid of any compelling plot. One will be bored to tears, perhaps more content watching a cycle of laundry or paint dry on a wall. The poor acting certainly contributes to this. Uma Thurman (?Pulp Fiction?), perhaps one of the most overrated actresses of our time, plays her character flatly and dryly. Even the great Gérard Depardieu (?Cyrano de Bergerac?) is reduced to generic, dull character portrayal. Tim Roth?s (?Reservoir Dogs?) performance is seemingly a bright spot in the cast, but even this cannot save the viewer from the mind-numbing production Jofeé presents.
On a final note, it is worth mentioning that the visuals are spectacular, even netting the set director an Oscar nod. But, as in movies à la ?Max Payne? and ?2012? stunning visuals cannot save the film from its demise as a result of downright miserable directing and acting. And yes, I?m afraid that this movie is on an equal level as ?Max Payne...?
Final Score and Summary: 1/10, Impressive visuals marred by a talentless director, pathetic performances from the actors, and a non-existent plot
October 16, 2007
Magnifico, la lettera finale è meravigliosa.......