THE BEGUILED [2017]

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Written by: Thomas Cullinan (based on the novel by), Albert Maltz (based on the screenplay by), Sofia Coppola

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning


Sofia Coppola’s latest film carries her typical dreamy style but puts it in direct contrast with the situation that unfolds in front of us. Despite the fact we don’t see any bloodshed, or any battle scenes at all, we are subtly reminded of the stakes at play. The most obvious being the wounded soldier from the Northern Union who the Southern belles take into their girl’s school to to heal his wounds; but there are also more subtle hints, like many short shots of children on the balcony with a magnifying scope, or the distant rumbling of artillery.

And to that point, both the appropriately minimal soundtrack and especially the sound design are brilliant, not just the the sound of war in the back-ground, but the sound of everything. This is a quiet movie, and the sound of rustling feet running amongst the bush or the sound of nature ignoring the war add to the immersion.

The juxtaposition of Copolla’s film goes further, as again what unfolds is surrounded by beautiful shots of light filtering through dense forests, immaculately shot candle-lit dinners and the flowing, period-appropriate gowns of the women. All this on-the-surface beauty though is masking a situation that is slowly boiling and ever-evolving.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t very engrossing, nor are the female characters (which of course is nearly the entire cast), and all this is almost certainly due very noticeable omissions from the original film.

These omissions are particularly noteworthy, as this film seems to be the pinnacle of political correctness, in our immature, childish world where being ‘offended’ is some sort of personal right.

Firstly, the slave who played a not-so-insignificant role in the original film is thrown away with a single line. What happened to the slaves is asked early on? What indeed?

“They ran away.”

Convenient.

More important though is Martha’s true, demented reasons for her cold nature. Here, they are entirely dispensed with, and despite some fine subtleties in her acting, Kidman is less than a shadow of the character that she is portraying. Apart from Dunst and Fanning, the rest of the girls are barely heard from either, but all the characters are thin and suffer from the extraordinary amount of material cut out.

As the Colonel wins a small amount of affection, he asks to shave, but even this scene is pathetic in comparison to the original, again omitting any line that might cause one ounce of offence. This is made more noticeable considering the 2017 film borrows so many scenes and dialogue from the original. To a detrimental effect given the large amount of narrative that has been dropped.

Once he loses the beard he looks like a different man. Suddenly the women of the house are making sly comments to each other about how they are dressed; how they are wearing jewellery for the first time in years. This is nothing new at all; we are watching the original film dressed to look pretty, without the power of the original characters. This film prefers to linger, far too often it must be said, on sunlight filtering through trees.

True, the dinners the Colonel begins to receive invitations to are a treat to watch, as again a lot lies in the subtlety of the work by Kidman and Dunst. A slight glance, a line delivered with just a pinch of venom. Elle Fanning is also great as the older of the young girls, realising her own sexuality. But yet again, when compared to the original, this part of the plot is skinnier than a starving greyhound, and therefore has next to no impact. Nor do said dinner scenes, as the tension between characters is simply bare.


The dark ending leaves us pondering, wondering if either party truly came out on top in this psychological war. But a more pertinent question lingers; why this film, in this manner? Stripped of nearly all the elements that gave the original an unsettling and unique atmosphere, this is an extremely tame art film with seemingly no message at all; unless that message is that both men and women can be equally horrible. Which isn’t really a revelation, is it? One can’t imagine such a classic film being remade in such a manner if the surname Coppola wasn’t attached to it.

Pretty to look at, and not much else unless you are honed in on the subtle nature of it all. Which at even only 94 minutes takes some effort. Go watch the original again and save yourself the pain of sitting through this politically correct bullshit, not to mention a story we already know.

2 beers out of a sixer.

2/6

16 Comments on “THE BEGUILED [2017]

  1. Nice review Jordan. I was really looking forward to this (though I did miss it’s theatrical run), but a lot of people I know didn’t really get on board. I’ll probably wait for this to hit streaming…

    Also, side note: I saw Dead Cross the other day, and they were amazing. Mike Patton jumped into the crowd during the second song (only 2 feet away from where I was standing), got a kid to mosh up on stage, and did an encore of Nazi Punks F*ck Off as well as the intro of Raining Blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daaaaayyyuum that sounds like a show!! Lucky bastard! I still can’t get over how much their album pumps me up, not many -entire albums- have that effect on me.

      Yeah I was looking forward to this too, but… damn it seriously drops everything interesting from the original and you’re left with almost nothing. And like I probably ranted too much about, everything dropped was everything that could be considered crude or dark or offensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While it seems like every single blog I frequent has seen this f–ker, I’m not even sure I caught the damn trailer. Honestly, man, I feel I’m SUPPOSED to like Coppola movies more than I actually do. They’re typically so slow and quiet, the end up being a grind to get through (I tend to watch movies in the middle of the night/vampire hooker hours).

    All that said, this review makes me want to check out the original, as that’s another flick I’ve never seen. Shocker, I know.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually saw the original after this man. I kinda liked this one….. Then I saw the original. So much more powerful, so much more edgy and dark…. it actually HAS characters!

      I don’t like Sofia Coppola at all tbh. I think I liked Virgin Suicides a long time ago but that is all.

      Like

    • I usually do stuff in the middle of the night….you’re calling me a vampire hooker, man?

      Cause I kinda like it.

      And i still haven’t seen it, so you’re in good company.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Avoid this at all costs and watch the original. They are completely different films despite being so similar re- dialogue.

        You vampire hooker you =P

        Like

    • Tense indeed, unnecessary I agree 100%. The very final shot was pretty great though. I was just disappointed they omitted everything that made the original what it was

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh God SJWs are now officially ruining films. Wasn’t there some outrage around this one that it doesn’t deal with slaves? She has made a career of telling stories about white women but no, she should talk of black people because of the timeframe of this one? God, these people are retarded.

    I need to see the original but it will accomplish two things – 1. make me dislike this one when I see how much ‘controversial’ stuff they cut 2. make me wonder again why the hell didn’t Coppola didn’t get Jackman who is a more talented, better looking, hotter Eastwood. Yes, I know, if these horny girls found THAT in the bushes they would instantly die so it wouldn’t be realistic if they survived but goddammit this is just such a waste of potential sexy scenes with Jackman

    Ughh my life is nightmare because of his career choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahahaha, best comment ever!!!

      Yeah, she ditched the slaves entirely with a single line.

      “They left”

      I am so with you sati. Fuck SJWs. Fuck political correctness, and FUCK this new right people have to feel ‘offended’, whatever the fuck that even means.

      Avoid the original if you ever plan to watch this. On the other hand, avoid this like the black fucking plague and enjoy the ’71 film, as it is bloody great.

      Like

  4. I completely agree with your review too. There was no thought-provoking substance here at all. I read the book and it felt like Sofia Coppola simply missed the whole point of the story, such as the clever interplay of ideas – who is the true victim here? and the psychological nuances. Coppola made a feminist turn with the result that the film is very forgettable and boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Favorite older film discoveries of 2017 – movies and songs 365

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