Sofia Coppola's version lacks much of the extra detail and character development you'll find in Don Siegel's original - I suppose that's what you get when you lose fifteen minutes off the runtime - but this is still the most visually sumptuous film I've seen all year, its shadowy palette pitched somewhere between the ethereal beauty of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and the Southern decay of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
The '71 adaptation was much more in spirit with the novel while Coppola's take on the tale removes the more controversial and transgressive elements making the film somewhat neutered in scope. Her scripting puts more emphasis on gender politics which offers some rewards but in the end disappoints. Of note is the cinematography of Philippe Le Sourd and most of the performers save a miscast Colin Farrell.
Exactly what I expected - a competent, dystopian, nuanced depiction of gender dynamics in fraught social climates. It sits closely alongside 'Lady Macbeth' and has Sofia Coppola's directorial craft in cruise control.
"We are girls", the young students of Nicole Kidman's seminary are taught to say in a French lesson early in the film. Indeed, the best moments of Coppola's film are keenly attuned to the reactions, secrets, and self-motivated impulses that girls have when "men" are suddenly a thing. The characterizations are too thin: for this story to transcend, it needed to be richer or more deranged. But it's a dreamy 90 minutes.
Ooh man. Peacock snuff. Coppola's cross-purposes remake (or re-adaptation) of THE BEGUILED will appeal to Žižekian perverts. This is one of those psychosexual delights where the subtexts are giddy-making (this is deeply and complicatedly funny movie, w/ Kirsten Dunst for pathos). Team spirit: ever a truly insidious phenomenon. But the only other Coppola I love is MARIE ANTOINETTE, so maybe don't listen to me.
The Beguiled is a stylistic beauty right down to its southern belle costume design and pink cursive font that infests even the commercial spots for the film. On top of a flurry of great performances, particularly from Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman, the film has that slowburn quality of It Comes at Night. The downside here is that themes of sensuality and the southern landscape at the time ultimately feel unexplored.
A watchable yet underwhelming remake of a great film, that doesn't add anything particularly new to the core of the story. Colin Farrell, for me, is miscast: he never transmits that perversity that Clint Eastwood brings to the original. He feels like a victim and not like the instigator of the tragedy. Somebody like Michael Fassbender could have been a better choice, in my opinion.