Violence No Objection
Anti-Catholic Philosophy Objectionable
This will be brief.
I saw this movie a few months ago and was so bored and turned off by it that I completely forgot to write a review.
The movie is about the major archeological find on the property of Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan). She hires shy archaeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes). This is a fascinating bit of history and there is a good story buried under here (puns intended). But director Simon Stone is so interested in his movie feeling IMPORTANT that any interest is lost in a sea of pretention.
There are several long shots with wide-angle lenses that at first feel sweeping and epic, but Stone has no idea how to use these visuals to tell the story. The scenery is so bleak and dreary that you cannot but help get a bit drowsy. Stone also has an annoying habit of doing the "artsy" thing where the characters have their dialogue overlaid of shots of the same characters sitting silently looking at each other. This can be done with great effect, but it just... keeps... going... All of this serves to take away from the only good thing about the movie: the performances. Fiennes and Mulligan have an understated grace that is undercut by the terrible directing.
The other problem is how casually supports infidelity. Edith and Basil have a deepening affection as Basil continues to ignore his wife (Monica Dolan). That was annoying enough. But the movie decides to add a completely tacked on sub plot involving newlywed Peggy (Lily James) being frustrated because her clearly gay husband (Ben Chaplin) is not interested in being physical with her. So she sets out to cheat on him with Rory (Johnny Flynn). All of this is set up without any real conflict over the immorality of adultery. Instead, we are meant to relish in the finally-realized ecstasy of desire fulfilled.
It was then that I realized what this movie is: it is a Lifetime Movie Network script filmed like BBC Masterpiece Theater.
Avoid this film.