Far­rell’s char­ac­ter wreaks havoc with South­ern belles

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - MOVIES - By Michael Phillips

Sofia Cop­pola’s ver­sion of “The Beguiled,” set in 1864 Vir­ginia, takes the 1971 film ver­sion of the story and whumps it, gen­tly, the way you whump a bed­sheet be­fore hang­ing it on a line to dry. In nar­ra­tive out­line (with a cou­ple of telling ex­cep­tions), it stays close to the fever­ish Clint East­wood ve­hi­cle Don Siegel di­rected. But in terms of tone, sex­ual gaze and aes­thetic pri­or­i­ties, it’s an­other pic­ture al­to­gether, and a worth­while one.

Cop­pola adapted her su­pervil­lainy, ex­cept Dru is screen­play from the 1966 ter­ri­ble at it. While Gru novel by Thomas Cul­li­nan. shows him the ropes, the The story tells of an at­trac­wom­en­folk sam­ple the tive Civil War de­serter, a lo­cal Fre­do­nian cul­ture Union sol­dier taken in by and go uni­corn hunt­ing. the res­i­dents of an all­with the man in their Even­tu­ally, it all comes fe­male South­ern board­ing newly be­stirred midst. to­gether as they have to school drip­ping in Span­ish How “The Beguiled” unite to fight Balt­hazar, moss and re­pressed gen­tilplays out, as hinted at by who is in­tent on de­stroy­ing ity. the trailer, sug­gests a more Hol­ly­wood. Dis­cov­ered in the woods hor­ror-in­flected ex­peri

As for the Min­ions, by young Amy (Oona Lauence than the one Cop­pola un­sat­is­fied with Gru’s rence), Cpl. McBur­ney has ac­tu­ally pro­vided. do­mes­tic bliss, they go to (Colin Far­rell) senses a Cop­pola and her cin­e­mat­jail, in one of the film’s golden op­por­tu­nity in his og­ra­pher, Philippe Le most ran­dom sub­plots, pro­tec­tors. The for­lorn Sourd, shot “The Beguiled” af­ter they in­vade a singing school’s ma­tri­arch, wary on 35 mm­film, in and com­pe­ti­tion. It gives them both of Union sol­diers and around the same Louisiana some­thing to do, and it of temp­ta­tions em­bod­ied man­sion Bey­once used for gives the stu­dio the op­porby Far­rell, is Miss Martha “Lemon­ade.” Here the the tu­nity for some se­ri­ously (Ni­cole Kid­man). She is soft-edged pas­tels graduques­tion­able mar­ket­ing not alone. Kirsten Dunst ally darken into a more de­ci­sions, be­cause noth­ing plays Miss Ed­wina, an­oth­sin­is­ter pal­ette, as the says fam­ily fun like jokes er school­marm who sex­ual jeal­ousies and re­about Amer­ica’s prison car­ries an air of hard­ened crim­i­na­tions com­bust. cul­ture. That’s pretty dedis­ap­point­ment in life. She, Cop­pola doesn’t el­e­vate spi­ca­ble, in fact. too, finds her­self drawn to the ma­te­rial, ex­actly; more

Parker’s ’80s-in­spired this slyly wolfish in­ter­ac­cu­rately, she treats it su­pervil­lain is prob­a­bly the loper. “Grate­ful to be your with a dryly comic re­serve, most en­ter­tain­ing part of pris­oner,” he tells the as when Kid­man gives her the film, aside from per­ladies. in­jured guest a sponge bath haps the Fre­do­nian cheese Elle Fan­ning plays Miss and the in­ti­macy is al­most fes­ti­val. But “De­spi­ca­ble Ali­cia, whose fam­ily name too much for her to bear, Me 3” is some­how less clearly was Trou­ble. Wel­land still mind her man­than the sum of it­sners.parts.schooled­inSouth­ern­belle The whole thing might as gen­til­ity and hos­pi­tal­ity, Here’s a line from the well all be writ­ten in Min­with a mi­nor in se­duc­tive 1971 film des­tined never to ions’ chat­ter. It’s wacky, cun­ning, Ali­cia of­fers the make it into the 2017 ver­but some­how dull, kind of match that lights the spark sion: “Guess you dryin’ up like con­vers­ing with a in this tin­der­box of a sce­like the rest of us women Min­ion. But don’t tell our nario. All the women share ’roun here,” says a slave, new yel­low over­lords we an agenda, and that agenda played by Mae Mercer, as said that. is their power strug­gle she milks a cow and com- MPAA rat­ing: R (for some sex­u­al­ity) Run­ning time: 1:34 Opens: Fri­day ments to no one in par­tic­u­lar about the state of things on the plan­ta­tion­like girls’ school. The East­wood movie was proudly over­ripe, and its cave­man sex­ual pol­i­tics (in line with “Dirty Harry,” which came later that same year) turned “The Beguiled” into a blunt les­son in the evils that women do when the wrong man comes call­ing.

Cop­pola re­moved the slave char­ac­ters from her ver­sion of the story. She has taken a lot of grief for that de­ci­sion, most of it jus­ti­fied. She also ex­cised the riper Gothic el­e­ments, in­clud­ing the ma­tri­arch’s in­ces­tu­ous love for her late brother.

“The Beguiled” prob­a­bly could have ben­e­fited from a lit­tle more en­ergy in its telling. But the per­for­mances, all of a piece and work­ing with the same hushed in­ten­sity, keep a sim­ple story mov­ing to­ward its des­ti­na­tion. The oc­ca­sional sound of dis­tant can­nons not­with­stand­ing, this hot­house of de­sire doesn’t seem to ex­ist in the real world. The one cre­ated by Cop­pola casts its own calm spell. Michael Phillips is a Tri­bune critic.


Kris­ten Wiig voices Lucy, left, and Steve Carell voices Gru in “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3.”


Ni­cole Kid­man stars in Sofia Cop­pola’s “The Beguiled,” a re­make of the 1971 film star­ring Clint East­wood.

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