PeaceBang Reviews "Casanova"
I haven't seen a film that really shook me to the core for ages, or even one that truly entertained me. It's getting so that I'm tempted just to pull out old favorites, or even to re-view films that wounded or shocked or thrilled me so deeply I never thought I could see them again ("Breaking the Waves," "Dead Man Walking," "Monster," "Enemies, A Love Story," "Goodfellas," "Closer," and "Titus," come to mind) just for the experience of being blown away again by film.
"Casanova" stars a yummy Heath Ledger in the title role, a dull and dowdy Sienna Miller as his love interest Francesca Bruni (the famously gaminesque and tarty Miss Miller gained, like five or six pounds for the part, let her eyebrows grow in thick and sported a BROWN WIG over her platinum bob because Francesca's not supposed to be a great beauty. God, the sacrifice), the ever-sumptuous Lena Olin as Francesca's mother, Oliver Platt in the rich fat buffoon part, and Jeremy Irons in a red fright wig as the Grand Inquisitor.
Maybe one reason I couldn't love the film is that I just don't think you can make comedy out of the Inquisition. I've studied it too deeply, and comedic scenes featuring torture never work for me. I turn ice cold.
The director, Lasse Hallstrom (Olin's husband, for celebrity gossip hounds), obviously adored featuring the splendid city of Venice in this film, and from the DVD extras we learned the entire cast just loved every minute of filming there, despite the obvious challenges of trying to set up dollies on gondolas and such things. I said to L'il Flava, "I think they had more fun making this film than I had watching it."
In the end, the story wasn't about much, the farcical conventions were thoroughly unclever, and since neither the screenplay nor the direction provided anything special, there was nowhere for the performances to go.
A pleasant enough diversion, and it certainly doesn't hurt to look at Heath Ledger for two hours.