Moore makes a meal of it, Bridges brings the ham
Directed by Sergei Bodrov. Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue. 12A cert, gen release, 102 min
Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne haven’t had much to complain about. Those Academy Awards eased them into the new year, but, as both actors moved about awards season, they must have been slightly discomfited by huge images of themselves in unavoidable turkeys of the most embarrassing stripe. Seventh Son (featuring Moore as a witch) is almost certainly a worse film than
Jupiter Ascending (featuring Redmayne as intergalactic royalty), but the sword ‘n’ sorcery epic is a damn sight more entertaining than the lumbering space opera. Material this accidentally hilarious usually involves cats, curtains and YouTube.
Unfortunately, Moore – whose mainstream career has been a metaphorical pile-up – makes the mistake of doing the wrong sort of bad acting. Trilling her lines delicately as if playing a mildly aggrieved lover in a Terence Rattigan play, she is swallowed whole by the World of Warcraft madness around her. (Mind you, the 3D projection I saw was so dark, I could well have been looking at Dudley Moore.)
By way of contrast, Jeff Bridges, another Oscar winner, is doing entirely the right class of bad acting. The old devil is, essentially, playing a fantasy version of his Rooster Cogburn from True Grit: a grizzled, grumpy swordsman forced to accompany a younger blade on one last mission. No superlatives are sufficient.
This is some of the best bad acting we have seen since The Three Stooges were in their prime. Moving uncomfortably as if manoeuvring a stepladder while sitting on the highest rung, Bridges speaks in a voice that suggests John Hudson arguing with Brian Blessed before a wind tunnel. Look to your laurels, Nic Cage. There’s a new old ham in town.
Class act: Jeff Bridges