01 August 2015

Queen of the Desert

You heard it here. Release date September 15th.

The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2015. That's how long I've been waiting.

Official blurb:
Queen of the Desert is a 2015 epic biographical drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog and is based on the life of British traveller, writer, archaeologist, explorer and cartographer Gertrude Bell.

Starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Damian Lewis.

So why is his head bigger than hers in the poster, eh? Eh?!

Early reviews of the movie are mixed although all seem to agree it's stunningly filmed in grand proportions.

Some say Kidman "completely embodies" Gertrude Bell.[1] 

Others are underwhelmed by some "regrettable dialogue" finding it all "the tiniest dull."[2] 

"What drives her is never really illuminated."[3]

Not to denigrate Kidman's acting skills, but she seems miscast to me. Apparently she replaced Herzog's first choice, Naomi Watts. What? Who? (How about someone not conventionally beautiful? Laura Dern? Tilda Swinton?) There was talk for some time of Angelina Jolie producing and starring in a Gertrude Bell movie but perhaps she came to her senses.

I would not be surprised if the magnificent scenery of Jordan and Morocco overpowers Gertrude's extraordinary career. Hoping they don't overdo the T.E. Lawrence association.

[1] Justin Harp, 8 July 2015,"Nicole Kidman journeys across the Middle East in breathtaking Queen of the Desert trailer," Digital Spy (http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a657019/nicole-kidman-journeys-across-the-middle-east-in-breathtaking-queen-of-the-desert-trailer.html#~pjc4LBUoPvGUJQ). 
[2] Peter Bradshaw, 7 February 2015, "Berlin 2015: Queen of the Desert review – a towering Nicole Kidman goes there and back again," the guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/feb/06/queen-of-the-desert-film-review-berlin-nicole-kidman-werner-herzog).
[3] "'Queen of the Desert,' Berlin Film Review," 6 February 2015, The Hollywood Reporter (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/nicole-kidman-werner-herzogs-queen-770806).

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