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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE


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

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