Saturday, June 9, 2012
I have not read Guy de Maupessant's novel "Bel Ami," and maybe I should have before seeing this movie based on that book. (The only Bel Ami I know is the production company, shame on me!) Halfway through the movie, I was kind of lost in the storyline. The movie, directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, is a hot mess, and not the fun kind. Robert Pattison plays Georges Duroy, who has just returned to 1885 Paris from Algeria. He is penniless and breaks through Parisian High Society. And he is handsome and charming, a magnet to the women. I am not a Pattison hater, and liked him in two of his non-Twilight movies, "Remember Me," And "Water For Elephants." But I must say that this isn't his best work. The script is hollow, so it's not entirely his fault, but he doesn't help matters by scowling through most of the movie. He has his way with his leading ladies, but you never see what makes him attractive to them. (Half the time I wanted to put concealer on the dark circles on his eyes) You never know if he is a juicy villain, or a hero. Most of the time, he just seems to be a wet noodle. It is such a wasted opportunity, in my opinion. He could have made this work. Uma Thurman is beautiful, and I desperately love her throaty voice. I think more and more she is emerging to be on my short list of favorite actresses. Kristin Scott Thomas is great, too, and even Christina Ricci shows a lot of depth. Maybe that's part of the reason for Pattison's weakness: all the women around him give very strong performances. "Bel Ami" could have been a delicious French desert, but it just seems like soggy French fries.