Diana not up to its name­sake

DIANA ( M) Di­rec­tor: Oliver Hirsch­biegel ( Down­fall) Star­ring: Naomi Watts, Naveen An­drews, Juliet Steven­son, Dou­glas Hodge.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

IT starts and ends with the mo­ments lead­ing up to the tragic death of the late Princess of Wales in a traf­fic tun­nel in Paris. And in be­tween? Well, Diana isn’t quite the cin­e­matic car crash many English crit­ics have pre- emp­tively pro­claimed it to be.

Nev­er­the­less, as far as biopics go, it is just about as dozy and dim- wit­ted as a mis­told life story on screen can get.

Some of the di­a­logue is howl­ingly off- topic (“yes, I’m a mad bitch!” says Diana with dis­arm­ing cheer­i­ness at one point).

A lot of the juicy stuff that vet­eran Dianaphiles will be thirst­ing for has been squeezed right out of the script.

Dodi? He’s just a quiet bloke with a boat Diana was us­ing to make her real boyfriend jeal­ous.

Prince Charles? You hear him talk­ing on the telly once. Diana com­plains in a very round­about way about what a dud hus­band he was. But oth­er­wise, there’s no Chuck for your buck.

The Queen and the rest of that in­ter­fer­ing, we- are- not- amused gang at Buck­ing­ham Palace? Not a men­tion.

In fact, the film seems to go far, far out of its way not to of­fend any liv­ing, breath­ing roy­als.

Again, if it’s scan­dal you’re af­ter, you are not go­ing to get what you’re af­ter here.

What you will get is a fairly dull ( and oc­ca­sion­ally, un­in­ten­tion­ally com­i­cal) run­through of Diana’s se­cret love af­fair with Lon­don- based Pak­istani heart sur­geon Haz­nat Khan ( played by Naveen An­drews). Broadly based on a bitsy book called

Diana: Her Last Love by Kate Snell, the years glossed over, in very fuzzy de­tail, are 1995 to 1997. If you need to know the rest, there’s al­ways Wikipedia, I guess.

Then there’s the un­avoid­able fact that Aus­tralian star Naomi Watts has only the faintest sem­blance of a re­sem­blance to Diana Spencer.

She can wear the cou­ture clothes and the wavy hair­dos con­vinc­ingly, but if you slapped the same threads and wigs on, say, Shane Warne, the di­rect like­ness would be in the same ballpark as Watts.

Per­for­mance- wise, Watts rarely finds a way to hu­man­ise the iconic char­ac­ter she is play­ing. There are some fas­ci­nat­ing flick­ers of what might have been in a few scenes where Diana’s fa­mous cam­paign against landmines is cov­ered.

How­ever, there are five times as many scenes ( Diana swears! Diana hides in the boot of a car! Diana can’t cook pasta! Diana can play the pi­ano! Diana can vac­uum the lounge!) where Watts is hung out to dry by some very soppy script­ing.

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