Directed By: Matteo Garrone
Written By: Matteo Garrone, Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti & Massimo Gaudioso
Based On The Book By: Giambatista Basile
Cinematography By: Peter Suschitzky
Editor: Marco Spoletini
Cast: Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Stacy Martin, Vincent Cassel, Shirley Henderson, Toby Jones, Hayley Carmichael, Jessie Cave
From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.
There is no doubt that this film is amazing to look at, It’s surreal beauty is often breathtaking and thought provoking. I only wish that the rest of the film rises to the occasion.
The film has fantasy takes that seem to revolve or run into one another that all have a message to impart. Here they more get into the more adult versions of fairy tales. Not afraid to show some more graphic nudity, violence and sexual scenes.
The film allows the audience to fully inhabit this world, we are immersed but it also always feel like we are only visitors and they they are more performing. Not only that it feels monotonous. It might feel like we should want to explore more, but it feels like they take us get enough and we don’t desire more. It never becomes as enchanting as it should be or they it believes it is.
It’s very visual but at times lacks the grand visuals that could be expected. It plays great with the short goals, but feels short in the long terms. Though the film is quite imaginative. It tries to make the fantasy into a plausible reality. So that while vivid visually also being relatable to a degree with an international cast.
The cast is connected through the tales though these tales don’t seem to have an overall lesson to them. Except to show that even in fantasy people are people and have weaknesses and desire that they can’t overcome. Only here it is done on a grand scale that always feels like are coming in on the aftermath.
As for as beautiful as these tales are they begin classically then run out of steam. As they don’t keep the interest as they should and even if they ended traditionally. Hey still don’t seem noteworthy or well written. Adding modern touches or universal ones that are never really discussed it show In these tales certainly adds a bit of danger to them, but doesn’t make them interesting it might add stakes to the tale to have the audience follow a more emotional logic. Though still comes across as a farce. As at items the film tries to throw you off track and be surprising. It never really adds anything to how you will take the tales. Just a different presentation.
Even as the film shows the debaucherous as well as the pleasant. As there are some tales and passages in the film that are so inspired and so perfect. Unfortunately they don’t last long enough. As no one escapes unscarred throughout.
Though it’s nice to see the female characters more as our protagonists and are featured more in the forefront. I don’t know if that is the purpose of the tales or because fairy tales have always seemed to fascinate females to a degree though in the past have given them starring roles that ultimately prove to be subservient once awarded their dreams. Limiting the roles of those who read them and subconsciously take them to heart and believe them.
In this film at least one female character is shown To be heroic. She has a traditional role but also ends up becoming more of a warrior out of survival.
It also role reverses one female character who at first seems like a victim of cruelty. Then rises above it due to loss. She eventually becomes a villain of her own design that she doesn’t seem to realize.
One tale in the tale of twins shows what happens when you get what you always wanted and what can happen to those around you. How power ultimately can corrupt. For me this was the best told tale that accomplished what it designed to. You feel for the characters and can sympathize with them. While the tale is full Of magic, love, lust, romance and courting as well as action. The other tales never seem to combine all of this. Though prove to be their own animals.
The tale of the kind and his obsession with a growing flea. That takes off all of his attention and seems to doom his daughter to a certain degree. That at first feels funny and justified until We see the horrors she endures. Seems like one of those could have been tales. That almost becomes as interesting and arresting as the tale of the twins. Though it comes to play stronger In the third act. Just when we think we have heard the last of it. It comes back and provides most of the action for the film. Though it still falls a bit short of being full.
It keeps up a certain regal air to the whole endeavor that feels pretentious. When at it’s core it seems to want to throw the audience off have this rebelliousness to it. That the film never follows that spirit. As it seems more about presentation then any depth it attempts to showcase.
It’s not a terrible movie it depends more on it’s looks to get by. Then strength of character or any of the other elements. It seems like once in a while it remembers what it’s aim might be, But then too often gets distracted by it’s own beauty.
The universe that the film takes place in is a world of extremes. Noting is subtle not even the costumes. Though it is a world that is obviously a natural for for cinema.
This is the first English language film for director Matteo Garronne whose previous films GOMMORAH was an instant classic
The film had plenty of gore not so much violence as the films gore is just another of it’s extremes from something that can also be so simple.
Salma Hayek’s character comes off as sorrowful, sad and yet scary. Haven’t had as much fun watching her in a performance like this since the film SAVAGES. She is vicious yet loving. Her willingness to sacrifice is what makes her story the ultimate tragedy it at least the one that is felt the deepest.
Though the old ladies is more of a be careful what you wish for tale dressed up in shallowness.
The other story is actually one of the surprising tales that seems like a comeuppance tale and turns into quite an adventure. That has the most action involving tale. Where the princess must take matters into her own hands and be her own hero. As there is no one else who can.
Honestly the female characters are the ones who come off the strongest and the best. Though their characters also go through the most.
Though while watching the film there seems to be something missing. As it seems to lack an authenticity. Yes I know it is all fantasy, but there is nothing for the audience to relate or hold onto at all. Which leaves the film to be not as magical as you would think.
As half of the film feels like a period comedy only minus the laughs or the humor.Though there in spirit. The imagery will be the thing you remember the most by the end.