Posted Oct 28 2015
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A Little Chaos - This Movie Fails To Rock(ery)

Dir: Alan Rickman

Starring Kate Winslet, Matthia Schoenaerts, Rickman, Helen McCrory Jennifer Ehle, Stanley Tucci

There are two moments in Alan Rickman’s sophomore effort – one where Winslet’s rebel gardener meets Rickman’s in repose King and doesn’t realise, and a later sequence where the ladies of the court huddle together and discuss the losses of their lives – which are both so expertly delivered, beautifully written, acted and directed – that they can’t help but make the rest of the film pale by comparison.

Rickman’s film is a curiously unbalanced affair. At once a traditional costume drama, looking at the building of King Louis XIV’s gardens at Versailles and the courtly intrigues beneath and behind them. At another turn, something of a bodice ripper despite little chemistry being displayed by Winslet and fellow man with a spade Schoenaerts. Chuck in Helen McCrory’s bitch-fatale, some creakier than creaky dialogue, some garden sabotage (yes “garden sabotage”), and Stanley’s Tucci’s camp turn and it’s clear to see you’re never really sure where you are in this film. So much so, that by the time you get to the final out of place gay gag and unexpected dance routine, it’s clear that Rickman the director is none too sure of where he is either.

Yet it does have those two sequences that seem to come for nowhere, or maybe even from a better film. And, as ever, a good performance from Winslet. And a very droll one from Rickman. So not all bad then.

 

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