Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Painted Veil...painted well

The Painted Veil - John Curran - 2006 - 7/10


Edward Norton is Dr. Walter Fane, a microbiologist specializing in infectious diseases. While home in England he immediately falls in love with the spoiled socialite Kitty (Naomi Watts) and he asks her to marry him. Anxious to escape the tyranny of her mother, Kitty seizes onto the proposal despite clealry not loving Walter. Walter must return to Shangai where he runs a laboratory and Kitty joins him, quickly falling for the smooth talking Charlie Townsend (Liev Schreiber). The two begin a heated affair and Kitty begins to think she loves Charlie - and then Walter discovers the affair. He threatens Kitty that he will have a very embarassing divorce if she does not accompany him central China where a vicious Cholera epidemic rages. The self centered Kitty is in for a wakeup call as she sees suffering unlike that she has seen before and begins to respect and admire the man the town calls, their vallant doctor. Both Walter and Kitty battle the hurt each of them has inflicted on the other as they try to love each other again as outside their home, Cholera draws closer and closer as do the aggressivly Nationalist forces of a China on the brink of rebellion.


This is a really solid period piece and love story. It's pretty simple, for the most part, contrasting physical love and spiritual love, love at first sight and love over time. Norton and Watts are excellent together, especially Watts who shows something different here that I didn't see in King Kong or The Ring - a touch of personality. While her characters in those movies are flat at best, Kitty is multi layered, both a selfish socialite and a wounded optimist yearning for love. The story that swirls around Walter and Kitty is intriguing too, as they have to be on the watch for both Cholera and the Nationalists (as an aside, the movie seems very historically accurate). There is little more to say without giving the plot away, although the scenes with Watt and the mother superior (Diana Rigg) and Wadington (Toby Jones) are very good and very well written. Both Norton and Watts do an exceptional job at making you care for both of their characters, even as they cruelly torture each other.


Netflix it!

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Pride and Prejudice
...The Quiet American

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Blog Listings