review by Bobby Blakey
I have always been a big fan of Colin Farrell and have loved seeing a bit of resurgence with roles in The Lobster and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. His latest role in The Beguiled, teams him up with a great cast including Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst with The Bling Ring director Sofia Copppla at the helm, but does it offer up the intrigue that the trailer promises or will it not be worth betraying the Confederacy?
The Beguiled follows a Confederate girls' boarding school, where an imprisoned injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women's hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him. I found the trailer to this film way more engaging than the actual film. While there are elements that work very well including most of the performances throughout the overall film itself just fails to offer too much most notably due to the pacing. The initial set up works great and sets up what should have been an engaging type drama but is so slow most of the time that you start to lose interest. That being said there is a lot that should have made this a more powerful and compelling film most notably the performances. Everyone here does a great job, but they end up spending a good chunk of the film doing menial tasks that I would normally enjoy to create a realistic story, but they often go on too long with little payoff in the bigger picture.
The side of the story that was clearly the intent to push the envelope was that of the sexuality and love triangle to set up betrayal and drama, but it all felt so subtle that it offered little impact for me. There are moments that the character decisions make very little sense making it a film hard to stick with. The last half of the film leaves little mystery to it all, but does amp it up a bit with an almost twisted direction that I really enjoyed. I wish they had tried to create a bit more suspense with it as opposed to spoon feeding the whole thing to you. The only really great payoff with this direction is how it actually plays out in a bitter twist of irony.
As a hardcore fan of Farrell I loved him in this film along with the rest of the cast, but the build-up of the film and the actual execution just failed to really connect with me. I can see this being one of those films that will be divided down the middle with audiences so check it out for yourself and you decide.