19 May 2017.
KING ARTHUR – LEGEND OF THE SWORD **1/2
To enjoy this latest Guy Ritchie extravaganza on the ancient myth of King Arthur, you have to appreciate Ritchie’s style of filmmaking – fast, furious and flippant dialogue, speedy editing and innovative storytelling – like his early “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” or “Rock ‘n Rolla”. And you need to put aside your vision of the old tale and be willing to accept this iconoclastic twist on the glory of that chivalrous era.
Along with grotesque elephants, slithering serpents and special effects, Ritchie manages with his special brand of chutzpah to bring back the legend of Arthur for young audiences who may be too jaded by technology to read the old classics. This is part Shakespearean tragedy, part popcorn fun.
He has conjured up the early years of Arthur as a child, and preserved the grandeur of the King and his followers with his choice of actors like the charismatic Brad Pitt look-alike, Charlie Hunnam as Arthur, or a tortured Jude Law as his vicious uncle. And he has added his brand of coolness, plus a pulsing soundtrack that gets under your skin.
The film could have been edited for more clarity and less hype but this is nonetheless an exciting version of Arthur – before the Round Table. That part is still yet to come. I seem to be in the minority in appreciating this movie, for it could be called a distortion, or rather the rejuvenation of a myth…
LES FANTÔMES D’ISMAEL (Ismael’s Ghosts) ** (vo French)
For the opening film of Cannes’ 70th anniversary (May 17 – 28) this work by Arnaud Desplechin is a bit of a whimper rather than a bang. Despite a strong cast, it’s the sort of work that seems to evaporate when you leave the movie theater. More French than this you can’t get, with a meandering take on a love triangle and four top French actors: Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mathieu Amalric and Louis Garrel.
The story is about a filmmaker whose young wife disappeared some 20 years ago. When years later she is finally declared legally dead, the husband (Amalric – wish he would shower) begins to relive, and falls in love with a woman played by Gainsbourg. However, their peaceful couple is disrupted when his wife (Cotillard) reappears out of the blue. Despite the interesting premise, and the (always) exceptional acting of Charlotte Gainsbourg, the film is more style than content. And simply not memorable.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.