Despite the critical panning and the very delayed release, a large part of me was really intrigued into seeing 'Tulip Fever' because there is a good cast here (it is hard not to go wrong with Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Judi Dench individually, seeing them in the same film together promises even more) and have always been very fond of period dramas.
Have often been in the same boat as critics when it comes to film opinions, but have also been known to go against the grain (a few controversial perhaps) and was prepared to for 'Tulip Fever' because there was potential here. Sadly have to agree with those who found the film heavily problematic, didn't think it was that awful to achieve the lowest possible score but the biggest feeling gotten out of it was disappointment.
There are plus points with 'Tulip Fever'. When it comes to the costumes and sets the film is attractive and handsome enough, while it is beautifully shot generally. The music score from Danny Elfman is not among his best work and it's fairly subdued for recent Elfman, but there is an understated melancholy that suits the film very well.
Vikander, Waltz and Dench do a very good job with what they have, Vikander just captivates in luminous appearance and sincerity and Waltz and Dench have always had the ability to make much of their material, regardless of the size of it and whether it's beneath them or not, and both rise above it (how Dench manages to with so little to do is remarkable). Holliday Grainger also does her best despite the misjudged way the character is written.
Not everybody works. For my tastes, Cara Delevigne and Zach Gilifianakis didn't fit at all within the setting, to me they seemed too modern in look and manner, and Dane DeHaan (even more out of place) displays very little charisma and even less chemistry with Vikander. Their scenes together should have smouldered with sensuality but didn't have anywhere near the amount of passionate steam yet alone blistering fire to carry it off.
Similarly, not all the photography works either with some of it being nauseatingly shaky. The direction is pretty pedestrian and careless and the characters, for the cast's best efforts, are at best ciphers with some frustrating and sometimes illogical decision making.
It's the script and story that undoes 'Tulip Fever' the most. The script becomes even more implausible, melodramatic and clunky, especially in an overwrought and contrived last act that is like it came from a bad soap opera. We are not talking about these script qualities happening "at times", this is throughout the film and apparent very early on in the unnecessary opening narration that is little more than repetitive nonsense about tulips/flowers. Sadly the narration becomes even more repetitious, without much point and over-explanatory. The story is burdened by a dull pace and having far too many subplots, many under-explored or pointless or both which makes 'Tulip Fever' not easy to follow and a drag. Things become excessively absurd and under-nourished, and the film goes from dull and colourless, to contrived and melodramatic to overwrought and silly with not much interesting or hopeful between.
Overall, had some promise but badly fails to bloom and wilts very quickly. A shame. 4/10 Bethany Cox
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
In 17th Century Amsterdam, an orphaned girl Sophia (Alicia Vikander) is forcibly married to a rich and powerful merchant Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) - an unhappy "arrangement" that saves her from poverty. After her husband commissions a portrait, she begins a passionate affair with the painter Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan), a struggling young artist. Seeking to escape the merchant's ever-reaching grasp, the lovers risk everything and enter the frenzied tulip bulb market, with the hope that the right bulb will make a fortune and buy their freedom.
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November 16, 2017 at 07:18 PM