Friday, July 24, 2009

The Painted Veil

My husband and I watched 'The Painted Veil' last night and we sat mesmerised by it for the whole 120 odd minutes of the film. It is an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel by the same name, written in 1925. For a romantic period film it had a surprisingly suspenseful plot.

Edward Norton plays a bacteriologist who takes his new English wife, who is much less smitten with him than he with her, to Shaghai. And after she falls head first into an affair with an English diplomat, Norton blackmails’ her to accompany him to a cholera ravaged village deep in the heartland of China. The landscape is a beautiful and a serene backdrop for what is happening all around them. The complexities of their relationship are wonderfully agonising and painful. And Norton who starts out as a slick haired; pasty doctor who prefers the light off, gradually becomes 'a bit rough around the edges' and sexy.

I won't give any major spoilers because it is too good a movie to risk wreaking it for someone. But I will say that my only real critism of the film is the frequent flash back scenes that serve only to reassure the audience that the film makers didn't think that we were cluey enough to fill in the blanks on our own. I would have preferred to have appreciated the really powerful, non-verbal, emotional conversations that were acted out between Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.

Regardless, it really was one of the best films I have seen is a while, particularity when it comes to romantic drama.


Oh said...

Me, too! I LOVED this movie. It was everything in terms of "character" that a good story wants. I must admit to being a fan of Maughm anyway, but this film did not disappoint and your comments about Norton, as he "evolves" through the movie is spot on.
So glad to see your write up on this one!

joreads said...

Wow this sounds great I will have to see if I can grab it next time I am at the video store. I love Edward Norton so that is an added bonus

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about how "it was one of the best films I've seen in awhile." So many films are a huge disappointment to me, which is why I bury myself in literature, but this just created a mood and told a story that was beautiful. (I also liked the style of her clothes and hair. ;)

I want to welcome you to the JLC3. I'm so glad you've joined, and it's nice to meet you. As I'm a teacher, may I pluck the apple from your header? It looks quite tempting!