Di dis­as­ter does princess no favours

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

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

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