My Cousin Rachel

June 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Posted in 2017 | Leave a comment
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This has been quite the weekend for ambiguous thrillers. One of which worked and, this one, not so much. That is not to say that this was a bad movie. In fact, some elements worked well. It just wasn’t a very inspiring one, either. The rather famous novel of the same name by British author Daphne au Maurier has been the bases for multiple adaptations before, including one staring Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland. Though written in 1951, it is set on an estate in mid-19th century Cornwall. Ambrose as has just died in Italy and his young cousin, Philip (Sam Claflin), suspects his wife, Rachel (Rachel Weisz), of having murdered him. Rachel comes to visit Philip on the estate and the audience spends the rest of the movie wondering if Rachel is a cunning killer or a kindhearted and misunderstood widow. Director and screenwriter, Roger Michell, does a good job of teasing both possibilities. Weisz knows how to play her role well, allowing the faintest smile or glance to suggest that maybe… just maybe… she isn’t what she appears. But, then, maybe she is (because, did I imagine that smile?). It’s a clever performance. Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn’t live up to it. Despite the truly stunning scenery, this is, overall, a largely dull affair. There are brief moments of tension, surrounded by long periods of tedium. The story builds toward another, nicely uncertain ending but this film just was not nearly as impactful as “It Comes at Night,” which I reviewed this morning. It lacks any of the vitality that made that film so watchable. Of the two, go see that one. Wait until this is on t.v., you have binged all your shows, and there is nothing new on. Then watch it; it will be much better than sitting through another “Pirates of the Caribbean” for the umpteenth time.

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