Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Casanova

Might as well start reviewing the films I watched on the inflight entertainment, starting with a light but enjoyable one, Casanova (cross-posted at Delta Sierra Arts, my reviews blog):

Casanova

Casanova is Lasse Hallström's version of the tale of the famous libertine. The famed Venetian lover Casanova (Heath Ledger) is beset with woes: financially, he's short on lira; romantically, his consquistador position looks endangered when he is forced to marry by his protector, the Doge (Tim McInnerny, who comes across as reprising a "Blackadder" role), in order to avoid being punished for heresy. And then he meets Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller), swashbuckling proto-feminist, who teaches him how to truly love.

The reformation of bad boys who are essentially good at heart is always popular, of course, from Tom Jones to Hugh Grant sheepishly apologising on the Tonight Show. And Casanova captures that lightness of spirit well, proving to be smart about sex and love. It's a joyful romp filled with assumed and mistaken identities and the comic potential therein: Francesca publishes her feminist tracts under her illiterate servant's name; Casanova pretends to be Francesca's betrothed to Francesca and to be the very author of those tracts to her betrothed - and we're only getting started on the various guises.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Irons does a turn as the Inquisitor Pucci, sent from Rome to capture Casanova for his heresy of fornication, and the essential generosity of spirit of the lovers in the film compared to Irons' quivering puritan serves as a lighthearted rebuke at those sermonising men who assume fire and brimstone in order to 'protect women's morals'. Casanova may be no grand statement on 18th-century Venetian society, and certainly it doesn't have the comedic wit of a Moliere play, but it exudes the silliness and fun that its titular character celebrates, and that is enough to carry the movie.



What airline are you flying? This sounds better than just about any movie I've seen on one of my flights.


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