Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Red Riding Hood

2011. Dir: Catherine Hardwicke. Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Gary Oldman and Julie Christie. ●○○○○

Well let's just get this clear straight off the back. I am not the intended audience for Red Riding Hood, however I went to see it on a Thursday afternoon during Easter holidays and the (sparse) audience around me was in the majority were ealry teenage girls, and like me they were shifting uncomfortably in the seats whilst this shockingly inept piece of filmmaking rolled (and not just when the projector turned itself off in disgust).

Perhaps I should be more generous, as there are elements of the film I liked - lovely costumes for instance however poor scriptwriting, acting and direction combine to destroy any positivity I have about the piece.

So using the traditional fairy tale as it's core, Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight inspired picture focuses on the love triangle faced by the eponymous cloak clad heroine (Amanda Seyfried pouting to hide her gritted teeth) as she decides between hunky poor woodcutter (Shiloh Fernandez), rich but faintly dull blacksmith (Max Irons) or being ripped to shreds by the local werewolf.

Meanwhile her faintly ludicris family - a sacrificial sister who's the first victim of the wolf, heart-broken Virginia Madsen, alcoholic Billy Burke and kooky Grandma Julie Christie - as well as the crowds of other largely unnamed villagers have to deal with the sudden arrival of master werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman turned up to eleven). Each of the major characters gets the finger of suspicion pointed towards them at various points, including Seyfried's best friend, the village simpleton and the local priest through lingering pov shots and incidental music.

In a BBC interview Hardwicke claimed she was trying to raise post 9/11 parallels, where we begin to suspect all our neighbours and friends and trust braks down. Gary Oldman even gets a speech to this effect, but that good intention fails because we really don't care about the characters. Frankly they could all have been werewolves tortured and murdered by Oldman and I really wouldn't have cared.

If I were Seyfried I'd have ignored both of her potential suitors. Irons is at least worthy, but his delivery is immensely dull, but Fernandez is off handed and stroppy throughout and has a look of Tim McInnery around him which really took me out of the picture. Trust me, slap a 'tache on Shiloh and you'll want to call him Darling.

The elder cast members are given short shrift too - Madsen has either endless exposition to remind the audience of the parallels between her and her daughter's choices and Christie doesn't even have the good fortune to get eaten by the wolf in real time we only find out in flashback during the reveal. Oldman is clearly having a lot of fun with his screentime but he's so wildly over the top it's pantomimic and off-putting, although the silver fingernails are a nice touch.

The below the line talent is scarely better served with the clean wooden huts and furry white rabbits bouncing around appearing to come out of a children's TV show combined with a horrid soundtrack and giddy swishy camera movements. Complete with a trite and cliche ridden script.

Easily the worst of the 20 odd films I've seen so far this year I can honestly recommend that you steer a wide berth from this monster of a movie.


Alex in Movieland said...

I would never get close to this. Easter madness is no excuse :)

Runs Like A Gay said...

I know, what the hell was I thinking?

I suppose I thought it would be a nice enough Twilight knock off, however it makes the Twilight series look like Shakespeare in comparison.

Terrible terrible movie.

Alex in Movieland said...

can you believe I have yet to see a Twilight movie? :))

yet, I don't need to see one to say that I'm team Jacob. :P

Runs Like A Gay said...

I think I'm team Edward, but only because that would leave Jacob all alone without Bella and in need of cheering up.

Devious and sexually predatory...