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