Di disaster does princess no favours
NAOMI Watts gives it her all, but it isn’t enough to save Diana from being a cringeworthy experience, best forgotten. Intensely uncomfortable to watch, Diana feels like you’re prying into the private life of the late princess, which, as the film shows, she desperately tried to keep to herself until her untimely death in 1997. Which brings us to the big, yawning question – why did this film about the last two years of Diana’s life and her secret romance with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), ever get made? It’s very existence seems to go against what Diana and Hasnat wanted, but also in an effort not to offend, this portrait is a very bland and sentimental one that lacks any depth. The dialogue is so bad, it’s laughable, such as when Hasnat explains his work: ‘‘you don’t perform the operation, the operation performs you’’. Watts puts in a lot of effort to match Diana’s mannerisms, but saddled with such corny writing, there isn’t much she can do to avoid falling into the melodrama. The chemistry between her and Andrews isn’t there; what’s more, Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed is portrayed as a manipulative act of vengeance – a way to make Hasnat jealous from the media attention with her new man. Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel has recreated real events such as a fundraising event in Sydney and Diana’s visit to the minefields of Angola with great detail and these moments can be moving. Likewise the costume design is spot-on. However as the uncompelling story plods along, dramatic moments between the princess and Hasnat, whether they’re true or not, don’t feel believable.
Diana opens today.
– CARIS BIZZACA