What level of hell is this? Winter's Tale, the latest trite romance foray for Colin Farrell, is easily one of the worst films ever made... but amazingly, it doesn't stop at just being trite romance. No, this is a film that piles on the pretentiousness at every chance it gets, and the result is one of the most convoluted and head-slappingly wrong films I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. I once thought that nothing is worse than a really dumb movie that doesn't strive for anything past being stupid. But now I see I was wrong. The worst thing is a dumb movie that thinks, for some inane reason, that it actually has some substance to it. And Winter's Tale makes the spectacular miscalculation of thinking that it's God's gift to cinema, when in actuality, it is (I won't mince words) a massive pile of shit.
Winter's Tale is adapted from a book which I can only assume is light-years better than this piss-poor film adaptation. I have to give the book the benefit of the doubt, because after all, they wouldn't have made a movie of this thing if it were as bad as the film would suggest. I mean, even The Lovely Bones apparently had good source material. But honestly, I don't see any way in which the silly themes of this movie could ever have been construed as "good." The film is about Colin Farrell, a simple thief, attempting to escape an evil demon played by Russell Crowe. Yep. After Farrell's girlfriend dies, he zaps 100 years into the future in order to save the life of a random cancer girl. And no, I'm not purposely making this sound retarded just to paint the film in a bad light-- this is seriously the plot.
I'll ignore the terrible acting, dialogue, and direction for a second and just focus on this film's themes. Put simply, there are none. There are people out there who love this movie, and think of themselves as "enlightened" because they believe in the central premises of this idiotic film. That is insanity. This story is just an amalgam of random elements of religions, including reincarnation, heaven, predestination, and miracle working. What the fuck ever. "When we die, we become stars." THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! I really do feel like I was missing something here, because there's no way any sane person would put up with this film's existence if it really is as pretentious and shallow as I found it to be. But really, there is nothing to this thing. Anybody can pull random shit about philosophy out of their ass. I could pump out a screenplay like this in less than a week, and it would probably make more sense than this incomprehensible crap. One of the worst things a movie can do is disobey the laws it already set up. But what's even worse is when the movie doesn't set anything up at all. That's precisely what Winter's Tale feels like: A convoluted, episodic, random jumble of unrelated scenes that make it just about as approachable as a board game with directions written in Swahili. There's a friggin' Pegasus in this movie for no reason at all! And then it turns out that Russell Crowe isn't just any two-bit crook, he's a demon working for the devil himself! And the devil is played by Will Smith! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS MOVIE?
What really kills this thing (besides the fact that it makes no sense whatsoever) is the fact that it takes itself so exhaustingly seriously. Every line of dialogue spoken is delivered with such emotional and dramatic weight that you can practically feel it dragging the movie down. Bringing weight to a film is a good thing, but when you try to make every single thing people say some sort of moving speech or profound musing on the state of humanity, it all comes across as identical drivel and, more importantly, unrealistic. Nobody talks like they do in this movie-- and ESPECIALLY nobody talks like Russell Crowe's character. Crowe was apparently shooting for an Irish(?) accent in this film, but he ends up speaking in some unplaceable western European accent that made me laugh every time he appeared on screen. Meanwhile, Colin Farrell sported an emo hairdo that was eerily reminiscent of Gary Oldman's hair in The Fifth Element. And no, not even those majestic furry black caterpillars masquerading as Colin Farrell's eyebrows could save his performance. I'm sorry to say that everyone in this film delivered a series of acting train wrecks on an unprecedented scale. Of course, it's nearly impossible to say the dialogue in this film without bursting out laughing, so really I can't fault the actors. I will, however, fault the pretentious and self-absorbed writers behind this film, as their reach fell far short of their grasp with this truly awful film. The moral of the story is that it doesn't matter how seriously you take your filmmaking endeavours-- if the movie sucks, it sucks, and no amount of posturing can cover that up.
Final Score for Winter's Tale: 1/10 stars. Yep, it's as bad as you've heard. Actually, no-- it's worse. On the surface, this looks like your typical run-of-the-mill crappy romance, where everyone involved is just collecting a paycheck and will soon move on to bigger and better things. But what scares me about this film is the fact that it actually thinks it has some answers to offer up about life's most important questions. So let's just clear this up: I have no thoughts as to reincarnation, and I am open to the concept of life after death (even though that's really, really redundant). But if the afterlife is anything like Winter's Tale, I will gladly spend an eternity in hell. It's deeply unsettling to think that there are people who found some meaning in this pretentious, dull, nonsensical, shallow, and overall stupid film, because I've seen more interesting philosophical musings on bathroom stalls. Trust me... this is how Scientology got started.