The Beguiled

The Guardian Weekly - - Culture - Pe­ter Brad­shaw

Sofia Cop­pola won the di­rec­tor’s prize at Cannes for this hugely en­joy­able melo­drama that more or less al­lows bodices to re­main un­ripped un­til an up­roar­i­ous third act. A hand­some, wounded Union sol­dier, Cpl John McBur­ney, is stranded in enemy ter­rain dur­ing the Amer­i­can civil war and throws him­self at the mercy of a ladies’ sem­i­nary. These south­ern belles col­lec­tively ex­pe­ri­ence a sex­ual ner­vous break­down that has deliri­ous hints of Black Nar­cis­sus.

As screen­writer, Cop­pola worked from the orig­i­nal novel by Thomas P Cul­li­nan and the 1971 Don Siegel movie star­ring Clint East­wood. Yet Cop­pola tells her ver­sion with gusto and wit. Colin Far­rell plays McBur­ney, and his

per­for­mance is more hu­man,uman, more vul­ner­a­ble than East­wood’s. ’s. Dis­cov­ered in wood­land by 11-year-old d Miss Amy (a smart per­for­mance from Oona a Lau­rence), he per­suades her to take e him to the school. There, the prin­ci­pal­ci­pal Martha (Ni­cole Kid­man) and her er sub­or­di­nate Ed­wina (Kirsten Dunst) ) are dis­mayed but also moved by his plight.

We get a glo­ri­ous stair­case ir­case scene, with some­one ac­tu­ally fall­ing down two sep­a­rate flights. Wee get a neck­lace wrenched from a fe­maleemale neck, so that the beads roll calami­touslyalami­tously over the floor. We even have a gun­shot that brings a chan­de­lier de­lier crash­ing down. The Beguiled d has teas­ing flecks of noir and black com­edy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.