After first establishing himself as a craftsman of character-driven dramas and lighthearted romantic comedies in his native England, director Mike Newell ventured across the pond to direct several acclaimed American films, as well as a few major Hollywood blockbusters. Newell became known on British television with his acclaimed adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ “The Man in the Iron Mask” (ITC, 1977) before making his feature film debut with the graphic horror movie, “The Awakening” (1980). Having established himself within a diversity of genres, he was free to choose his own course, which eventually led to the acclaimed biographical drama, “Dance With a Stranger” (1985), and the charming romantic comedy, “Enchanted April” (1991). Newell became an international name thanks to “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994), a witty romantic comedy that helped turn Hugh Grant into a star. Taking a decidedly American turn, he directed the gritty crime drama, “Donnie Brasco” (1997), only to follow with… read more
Being a really long book, the one thing I noticed is that the film is rather rushed. There are a lot of things happening at the same time. However, it does not get confusing. The plot remains clear and focused, with many events foreshadowing the end. The direction is still good, but it does not match the skill and creative prowess of Cuarón.
Borrowing most of the creative aspect from the previous films, it remains a nice film to look at. We get introduced to a new topic in this film, and that is love. Or at least, sexual tension between characters. It is played out rather nicely and funnily. And as before, the casting remains perfect as the characters are filled in by perfect actors; the one that jumps out is Miranda Richardson.