Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Diana

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Controversial? Maybe. Clarity? Possibly. Corrupt? You decide…

The movie opens with a black Mercedes stood still on a Parisian road, crowd of people swarmed around it.  “Oh!” I thought, “she’s dead already? Well, that was a short film”… no.  Suddenly a blonde woman with awfully good posture walks through a hotel room. She glances at herself briefly in a mirror before exiting the apartment, walking down a hallway with a few Security men beside her, then into an elevator. We get a quick CCTV-shot of the time and date:  31.08.1997 – 00:16am. Then the doors slide closed. Diana’s last few moments.

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Right then people. Where do I start with this one?

I think its true to say that this movie has received a bit of a mauling. I’m thinking the reason for this mauling is due to the story (what is true, what is not). Now Diana is a serious biographical piece, but I couldn’t help wondering: ‘did the producers slap a load of tickle on top’? – but before I get into a political & historical debate about what went on in this woman’s life, allow me to focus on the main element of the film: the woman who made the movie possible; an actress who took on possibly one of the world’s biggest roles..

Naomi Watts as Diana

Brilliant. Basically. I honestly don’t believe there is another actress out there the producer could have used, with similar characteristics to Princess Diana. I mean, could you see Toni Collette or Julianne Moore playing her? Scarlett Johansson? … no. Naomi Watts was the perfect choice.  Her makeup was splendid, features spot-on, and she carried Diana’s posture very well. The main element she nailed was Diana’s coy puppy-dog bow of the head, as she looked up through her lashes at people. Brilliant.  OK, so Naomi did drop the skill at certain points – it was clear she had difficulty tying impersonating / acting together.

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It Must’ve Been Hard

..for Naomi to not just play out a script – but actually re-enact true events; a few of Diana’s press engagements, carpet walks and charity work were displayed in the movie. But its not as if these things that happened in real life were scripted – the actress probably had to absorb the exact situations and play them out as Diana did.

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This movie portrayed Princess Diana as a loose canon; a bit of a tearaway. For example, one scene sees her sneak the Hasnat Khan (the surgeon she falls in love with) into her palace – under a blanket in the back seat of her car. Another scene gives us the Princess as she sneaks around a hospital ward, trying to find Hasnat – yet when she exits the hospital, she lies to the Press (waiting outside the entrance) telling them she’s there to visit gravely ill patients. (bit harsh Di, no?)  The movie centres around the relationship between our Lady and her Pakistani heart surgeon, at times getting messy. There is a lot of “I love you, but we can’t be together” bollocks, and Diana exiting more than she enters rooms.  Oh, and let’s not forget the scene where she sticks a brunette wig on, and marches (out of love) into a fried chicken outlet on Kensington High Street, to confront Hasnat. Odd.

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However, maybe I regard her personal life as messy because of the squeaky-clean charitable image I know her to be. If she was any other member of the public, maybe I would see it all as ‘pretty darn normal’?  What we have here ladies & gentlemen, is a genuine human being. With genuine issues. But the fact she’s a Princess means the issues are amplified 1000%.  Think Amy Winehouse – she was troubled beyond belief, but if she wasn’t in the public eye 24/7 – was a normal person walking down your street – would you give a shit!? Would your opinion be different?…

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I’m finding it hard to give you people a genuine review of this ‘movie’ – because most of it isn’t a movie – its a biography, looking at the final few years of one of our world’s most famous women. We all know how many children she had, who she married / divorced. We know how she died. So honestly, I can only review Naomi Watts and her portrayal.

Supporting Cast / Setting

Great, yeah. Nice to see the likes of Geraldine James in a more subtle role, and Juliet Stevenson was a nice cameo. In fact, the overall cast worked well together – thank Christ it wasn’t one of those films where Richard E. Grant pops up randomly as you sit there thinking “fuck sake – HIM. Again?”  Not all of the people you’d expect to be there make an appearance, but we do get Paul Burrell and Princes Harry & William (actors of course)

So it wasn’t overly long ago, but it did bring back memories of 1997 when I noticed things like News Of The World paper, and those mobile phones – Diana’s ringtone is probably the first classic Nokia ringtone ever created. Oh, the memories..

The very final scene where Hasnat lays flowers at Diana’s gate was emotional. Amongst a massive sea of flowers, various members of the public (old and young) slowly walk towards the gates, clutching flowers.

Personally, I think what made Princess Diana so different from the rest of the Royal Family was the fact she broke away from the straight-laced stereotype. She went her own way, did her own things, and whereas the rest of the Royal Family are polished, precious vases sat on the shelf of expectance – Diana was the vase which fell off the end. And sometimes cracked under the fall. But didn’t break.

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I don’t think I’m wrong in saying we ALL remember where we were the exact morning Princess Diana died. Personally, I remember waking up to the sound of my father watching the TV – think I was about 14. Hot summer holidays, discovering Clearasil and masturbation (not combined of course. Although ironically, I am a fond consumer of Spotted Dick) and playing Hanson’s ‘Mmm-Bop’ repeatedly on cassette tape single.

A-HEM. Anyway, I enjoyed this movie. Mainly because I knew who it was about, and was kind of intrigued by what was going to happen.  However, if you are thinking of going to see it.. wait for the DVD rental.

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My rating is based purely on Naomi Watts portrayal of Princess Diana.

7/10

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2013 by .
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