The Beguiled

The Beguiled

The Beguiled

2017.  Written/Directed by Sophia Coppola

By Brian Wallinger 

In 1966 the original novella of The Beguiled was published by author Thomas P. Cullinan. In 1971 the original film was directed by Don Siegel and starred Clint Eastwood in the lead. It is a film about a Union soldier in Virginia during the civil war that is wounded in battle while trying to flee and close to death when he is found by a young girl and taken an all girls school where he then attempts to seduce is way through multiple women and meets dire consequences for his actions.

Sophia Coppola has become the second female director to win at Cannes for best director for her work on the film. However, I find it to be a very watered down alteration of a 1970s classic film. The major highlight of her film being without doubt the cinematography capturing the the tone and light of the film with ultimate professional steadiness and swift precision. I found the performance of Collin Farrell in the lead role to be average, with nothing too exciting, yet decent enough to be convincing. Opposite Farrell is Nicole Kidman as the head mistress of the school and sadly her performance is lackluster as well.  

Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst also find their character's to be poorly misused. I also found the removal of the slave character Abigail, played by Mae Mercer in the original, to be concerning.  It also doesn't keep up the suspense that made the original the success that it was. A film that once again proves that just because a remake could happen doesn't always necessarily mean that it should.

Coppola who found herself almost thirty years ago under fire for giving an immensely underwhelming performance in her father's Godfather conclusion has found better luck directing films such as Lost In Translation and The Virgin Suicides.  Despite her innate talent, The Beguiled ends up tedious and forgettable. 

 ☆☆ 1/2

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