The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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Miss Julie definitely gives Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell room to shine, but neglects to leave them a solid enough setting to augment their efforts.
All Critics (51)
| Top Critics (18)
| Fresh (26)
| Rotten (25)
It occasionally looks too theatrical and the scene with Julie's canary might remind you of Oscar Wilde's lines about Little Nell. Yet there is passion.
The film is visually bland, with only a couple of bookending outdoor sequences around a handful of interior sets.
It smoulders and smokes and generates some heat but it never really bursts into flame.
Anyone interested in spellbinding performances, however, should see Miss Julie.
Morton, one of the least artificial actresses in the world, charts her character's heartbreak without any of the self-pity normally assigned to ordinary women.
What Ullmann's done is create the ideal conditions for these three to do electrifying work with each other. She maintains control so they can lose it.
Unfortunately the static nature of the sets and the cinematography make it difficult for the film to overcome its stage origins, and threatens to undermine the naturalistic conceit.
In this overly literal adaptation, we know invisible forces are at work only when characters directly address their presence.
Strindberg's searing insight into human nature is at the root of the film's power. Familiar and recognisable behaviours and illuminating truths, often painful, open our eyes to our frailty and greed.
Chastain's performance feels too skittish, if not a little mad straight out of the blocks, playing into the hands of Strindberg's chauvinistic portrait of Julie, rather than challenging it.
The result is decent rather than spectacular.
The film has a singular focus on these characters and their power struggles of class and gender, but fails to ever feel like it's really going anywhere.
The three actors, especially Chastain and Farrell, are splendid in this talky and bleak adaptation whose theatrical origins are quite transparent, but which unfortunately starts to resemble more and more a melodrama as the (overlong) story advances and finally falls flat in the end.
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