The Beguiled

2017

Drama / Thriller / War

92
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 52%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 39679

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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October 01, 2017 at 07:47 AM

Director

Cast

Kirsten Dunst as Edwina
Nicole Kidman as Miss Martha
Elle Fanning as Alicia
Colin Farrell as Corporal McBurney
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
680.93 MB
1204*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 2 / 114
1.41 GB
1792*1072
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 3 / 42

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CineMuseFilms 6 / 10

a beguiling exercise in form over substance

When movie's form and substance are not in harmony the strain can be obvious. With a stellar cast, superb cinematography and magnificent American Gothic period setting, The Beguiled (2017) has uncompromisingly beautiful form. In terms of substance, on the other hand, its characterisation and narrative interpretation are underwhelming.

The storyline is uncomplicated. A wounded Union mercenary Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) is found in the woods by a young pupil of a nearby prestigious girls school. She helps him limp to the school where the headmistress Miss Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) agrees out of Christian kindness to provide shelter from the Confederates. The slave servants have fled and the Civil War rages, but the school stays open for a handful of orphaned girls. McBurney knows that his charm and seduction skills are vital to his survival as he smirks privately at having landed in a crinoline paradise compared to the battle outside. The ladies are aflutter at his presence and an atmosphere of repressed sexuality and jealousy simmer below the surface. But he is too clever for his own Irish charm as he tries to worm his way into too many beds. When caught out for his duplicity, the sweet angels of charity exact their revenge.

With a story rich in narrative potential and star-power like Kidman, Farrell and Fanning, you might expect a delicious thriller melodrama with characters of depth, complexity and nuance. But instead we find a flat narrative with two-dimensional caricatures devoid of emotional expression. Apart from McBurney's angry outburst at having been thwarted by a mere handful of women, nobody in this film seems to feel anything more urgent than how the plates might be arranged for dinner. Piques of jealousy, fear, passion, feminist rage? – none of seems to have made the final cut. Perhaps it's a Gothic affectation that upper-class Southern ladies enjoy French grammar and music lessons accompanied by exploding cannonballs. Whenever there is hope for an exciting narrative twist, the ladies spontaneously assemble for a posed composition of exquisite elegance and formality as if beckoned by a painter for a portrait sitting. Seeing this the first time is a visual delight; seeing it multiple times displays a level of artifice that distracts from an already slow narrative. Gothic atmosphere is usually full of tension but here it's more about smoky mists and mood lighting that varies between dark, darker and darkest. What could have been offered as a triumphantly gruesome finale is instead played out as deadpan politeness in a sewing lesson for once rich young white ladies.

Opinions differ widely about this film. Some will have seen the 1971 version or read the source novel, others of course will see it cold. Perhaps it is meant to be a deliberately restrained feminist Gothic noir interpretation. However, despite its high-quality inputs this film is more about form than substance. It has not risen to its potential.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 6 / 10

A double-bill of THE BEGUILED 1971 and 2017

A double-bill of THE BEGUILED, Thomas Cullinan's source novel is a civil-war drama positing a tantalizing scenario where a wounded union soldier fetches up in a southern all-girls' school, nurtured to recovery by the apparently good-willed women but also subjected to temptations from female gazes and one false move, he will go through purgatory of his sorry life.

The 1971 version is directed by Don Siegel, the third of his five collaborations with Clint Eastwood, who plays the Yankee Corporal John McBurney, and is discovered by a 12-year-old Amy (Ferdin, an absorbing talent), to whom he indulges with a peck on her lips, a blatant way to take away a child's first kiss (also pretty provocative by today's regressive yardstick), instantly, what Siegel hammers home to viewers is that he is not a humdinger, and through glimpses of fleeting flashback interleaved into the narrative, John emerges as a congenital liar, flippant and manipulative, currying favor from his petticoat accompany to slough from a possible fall of incarceration, whether it is Miss Marsha (Page), the headmistress of the seminary school, Edwina (Hartman), the virginal teacher to whom he claims his attraction, a nubile 17-year-old student Carol (Ann Harris), who is sexually active, even the slave Hallie (Mercer, a defiant soul hampered by her identity), cannot evade his come-ons.

The advent of a hot-blooded albeit bedridden male inevitably causes an erotic disruption among the exclusive distaff clique, whose members are circumspectly secluded from the battlefield merely outside their perimeter and sexually repressed, for pert, callow girls, they are inclined to project John as a perfect specimen of their untested sexual allure versus the opposite sex, in the cases of Edwina and Carol, one is the prudish committed type and the other is a wanton nymphet. But the most complex character amongst them is no doubt Miss Marsha, whose incest past and subliminal lesbian proclivity get a full treatment in the audacious script and visual presentation, the latter is even coalesced with a flagrant religious connotation to soup up the film's maverick idiom. When the crunches arrives, a man's conceit in his potency is punished by blunt castration and signifies a rude awakening of the priapic worship.

On top of his virile stallion credence, Clint Eastwood imbues a cunning, almost overweening facade which audience isn't familiar with, not cut from the same cloth from his hard-boiled tough-guy legend. Geraldine Page, emboldened by her matriarchal gravitas and demanding onus, doesn't shy away from any extraneous intrusion (the Union and the Confederacy alike) and builds a palpably beguiling tension through the mind games she plays with Eastwood yet holds the rein from stem to stern in unyielding resolution of taking the escalating situation in her own hands. Elizabeth Hartman, the fragile Oscar-nominated actress whose premature demise was a harrowing tragedy ripe for cinematic transposition, brings about something equally tangible and visceral as she is bedeviled by the discord between a man's promise and his action, but still holds out the last remaining benevolence out of her own impressionable nature.

Crowned BEST DIRECTOR in Cannes, Sofia Coppola's remake is an aesthetically beguiling psychological intrigue, superbly recreates a mystical Gothic quaintness in the closing days of the civil war entrapped within the terrain of a majestic mansion of the antebellum south, which certainly is a scintillating upgrade from the 1971 version's sepia retro flair.

But story-wise, Sofia's script not only eviscerates the role of Hallie (which is a double-edged sword since she claims that out of the respect of this sensitive issue, she doesn't want to tread lightly, but also can be easily accused of racially insensitive), but also leaves no allusions of all the taboo issues tackled in Siegel's movie, lesbian kiss, incest depravity and of course, that inappropriate kiss between a grown-up man and a teenage girl, are outright sanitized, and in fact, the whole story has been strenuously internalized, for instance, John's transgression, where is given a plausible justification in Siegel's film, is carried out in a slipshod manner, indicating that it is nothing less than a spur of horniness.

Atmospherical over dramatic, it is beyond reproach that Coppola opts to tell the allegory with her own agent, but unfortunately, the resultant impact doesn't meet up with expectation, especially when juxtaposed with its far more entrancing antecedent. Nicole Kidman intrepidly takes the mantle from Ms. Page, and actualizes an extremely sensual sponge-washing scene with Colin Farrell's less forthcoming and more sympathetic portrayal of a soldier turns paraplegic when he is subjected to an ambiguous retribution out of the necessity of saving his life. Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning don't make a splash in the shoes of Hartman and Ann Harris respectively, save Oona Laurence, whose Amy, precisely captures a child's malleable mentality.

So, the jury is out, the remake is humbled by the original, which is quite a shocker because on the paper, Coppola's feminine sensitivity seems to be more adept to parse this age-old gender axe battle than an action-inclined Mr. Siegel, again there is no sure thing in the film industry, and that is exactly why it keeps us intrigued every time.

Reviewed by classicsoncall 6 / 10

"We can show him some real Southern hospitality."

If the decision were to be considered again, I wonder if the film makers would have remade this sequel to the 1971 original starring Clint Eastwood. That version included elements of Gothic horror that didn't translate in this film, making it seem almost bland by comparison. Certainly the director didn't take the story in any kind of new direction. It might not be a scene for scene copy or have line for line dialog, but the picture is basically the same as the one from forty six years ago without the hard edge. My feelings might be tempered by the fact that I'm a Clint Eastwood fan but that doesn't explain all of it. There just seemed to be something missing here that didn't provide the same kind of tension the earlier film did.

One plus perhaps though, was the omission of Miss Martha's ambiguous flashback sequence from the first picture. In it, it's hinted that she had an incestuous relationship with her own brother that proved troublesome and virtually unrelated to the way events in the story played out. What bothered me in this film specifically was the scene in which Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell) had his way with Edwina (Kirsten Dunst). Edwina came to his room willingly, yet the potential relationship between the two was virtually turned into a rape scene. That didn't make a lot of sense to me.

But boy oh boy, once again we had Amy's turtle setting up one of the catalysts for McBurney's eventual downfall. That goes back to what I said earlier about the film's script following along so closely with the Eastwood picture. I thought they might have exchanged the turtle for something a little more warm and fuzzy, like a rabbit or a puppy. Right then and there, I knew McBurney set himself up for a one-way ticket out the gates of the Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. You just don't mess with a little girl's pet turtle.

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