Winter's Tale: Blu Ray Review
Released by Roadshow Home Ent
The latest entrant into the paean of romantic pap is an adaptation of the 1983 Mark Helprin book set in a mythic New York City where demons roam in human form, taking down humans and advancing the fight of good vs evil.
Colin Farrell plays Peter Lake, an Irish orphan, who's living a life of thieving and getting by in 1916 New York. But he's angered the boss of a mob, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe in dead eyed Irish accent mode) and has a price on his head.
It all changes for Lake though, when he meets the consumption-ridden Beverley Penn (Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil aka Jessica Brown Findlay) and falls in love. But when tragedy strikes, Lake finds himself in 2014 New York with another chance to redeem himself....and give it all for love again.
Winter's Tale starts with a plummy British voiceover explaining the virtues of the stars and how the angels are born and goes downhill from there pretty quickly.
Mixing in a smattering of the mystical into a dour film, it very rarely stops to offer any kind of real explanation of what's going on or make you believe in the truly implausible romance between Beverley and Peter (as they fall for each other over a cup of tea). It's supposed to mix in magic thanks to a white horse guardian who appears to Peter at a time of need and can fly away, but there's no sense of it ever really soaring in any shape or form.
Dreary performances (with the exception of Brown Findlay, whose luminescence and lively eyes light up the screen) taint the movie and rob it of any feeling other than of actors on auto-pilot. Farrell looks non-plussed in the moments that he's not trying desperately to emote as he pours tears from under his caterpillar like eyebrows; even he struggles with getting any kind of grasp of what's going on; Crowe looks constipated as he tries to glower as an angry demon; Smith crops up as Lucifer (!) and seems completely lost and Connelly is totally wasted and wishy washy as a mom whose child has cancer in the present day segment of the movie.
But here's the thing with Winter's Tale - there's just no emotion or feeling to it whatsoever, leaving you more with the impression that you've just wasted 2 hours of your life thanks to a cloying, confusing narrative that doesn't play up the eternal love angle, it simply doesn't seem to know what story it really wants to tell. It relies on wild leaps of faith from the audience throughout, and doesn't reward them for taking the chance or the journey. It's a fantasy movie without any of the fantastical.