Monday, 1 September 2008

The Duchess Review

Daffodils popping up in February. Birds flying south whenever the mood takes them. At least one seasonal thing is constant. If Keira Knightley slips on a corset (without buckling any swashes) and speaks in clipped tones then the summer season is over. So its out with comic books and big bangs and in with the 'worthier' fare. And by worthy I mean the aforementioned corsets and clipped tones. So here is a sarcastic Yip and a droll eee.

KK is the titular Duchess of Devonshire. A girl who has enormous beehives (like the troubled singer Amy Winehouse), gets pissed and makes a twat of herself (like the troubled singer Amy Winehouse) and gets smacked about by her husband (like the troubled Turner). Trapped in a loveless marriage with King of the bastards Ralph Fiennes, she shits out some sprogs (including one called Little G!!!) and contemplates adultery. Justified adultery though considering her husband is rooting her best mate in front of her.

The first half of the movie is basically setting up the Duchess, all Bambi eyes and no tits, as 'pud upon' so that we can want her to go off and boff that Dominic Cooper chap from Mamma Mia (who is almost as drippy in this than he was in that, which is really quite something). And it works. Mainly because of how despicable the Duke's character is. Not that Ralph plays him as a boo hiss villain, instead he confuses sullen for bored to tears for fifty percent of the film. The other half he just does an impression of Rigby from Rising Damp.

All this doesn't help my main beef with movies like this. In that they usually end up being about as dramatic as someone wearing the same hat as someone else at a high society party. The whole 'trapped' in a loveless marriage thing has me screaming at the screen 'just get the fuck out!' but I found by the end of The Duchess each character managed to illicit a certain degree of sympathy. Even the bastard Duke. And here's a sentence I didn't think I'd write 9 months ago but... the costumes are really good.

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