This film adaptation of Waugh's Vile Bodies doesn't really work. I think that part of the problem is the director, Stephen Fry. He does some interesting things with the camera, makes some beautiful images, shows a great flair for color and design, and he assembled a top notch cast (though I am soooooo sick of Simon Callow's endless mugging for the camera - but thankfully he's only in this for about 60 seconds). But he doesn't develop a coherent feel to the picture. He seems to enjoy the cheeky fun of it too much, so when it speeds into decay, death, destruction and despair ... well, it's a very choppy ride - 20 foot swells on the North Sea choppy. And really I just don't think he was perhaps the right person to do this. Waugh requires an unusual combination of cynicism and sentimentality that I don't think Fry pulls off well.
All that said, there are some marvelous little bits to it, it's filmed in some lovely locations, and there are a few gems of performances - from a tiny bit of Imelda Stauton as a reserved, proper but furious and appalled mother, to Dan Ackroyd's Canadian-born media baron, to a major supporting turn by the fetching Scot James McAvoy as the ill-fated Earl Balcairn. If anyone steals the movie though it's probably Fenella Woolgar who pops in and out of the film playing the well-meaning but decadent Agatha. She gives a turn that's essential if we are to buy that much of London cares about one goes on in the lives of these Bright Young Things.Posted by armand at February 13, 2005 02:48 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Movies