Film reviews

Casanova, Dir; Lasse Hallström, Cert; 12A.

Casanova: Venice 1753, inquisition, sex, sex, sex and yet you see nothing except suggestion & damnation. For me at least Casanova will always be the Divine Comedy's musical take on the fabled Italian lover extraordinaire, but considering this is visual and not just musical - it's got me hooked.

So where were we? Oh yes, Casanova, played by Heath Ledger (most recently caught in "Brokeback Mountain"), the man with the longest... "...list of conquests in the whole of Venice.", proceeds to do what Casanova is renowned for. Best described I feel as a gentle comedy, this complete with clever twists add comedic value, to a quite perfect celluloid trip. Scenes were staged that at times possessed an inevitability that made them endearing, yet never tiresome and the setting was quite stunning. However beneath this quite beautiful backdrop, sinister undertones lurk that keep the audience in their seats & continually guessing. Clever dialogue plays joyfully between believable characters on a parchment setting so well crafted it draws you in and with a film that is at times so fast paced, you find yourself trying to work overtime just to keep up, that said this is half the fun (a permanent furrowed brow is essential).

A cast of superb acting talent can be caught performing, with not just up and coming talent drafted in (Sienna Miller and Charlie Cox play siblings Francesca and Giovanni Bruni), but these act alongside more experienced actors such as Stephen Greif (a host of credits to his name and with a career dating back to the 70's). When Cardinal Pucci (played by Jeremy Irons) is introduced we find the game is raised and explore the meanings of farce and a menace that is suitably portrayed. In places this might be considered quite disgusting, whilst at others certainly depraved, but is always highly entertaining and clever with it, although those twists should come with a health warning.

Overall the taming of Casanova is portrayed in a wonderful manner and just when you thought true love had prevailed, a jail cell, the gallows and another bed beckons - "Does your nurse enjoy a hanging? - Does the pope have a balcony?". The film is peppered with such suitable innuendo, although with a 12A certificate, is all in the suggestion. For such a fabled story, this latest production is a delight to see. 9/10


Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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