“Whatever It Cost My Cousin In Pain And Suffering Before He Died I Will Return With Full Measure…”
Although unaware of her particular line of writing beforehand, the release of My Cousin Rachel has not only expanded my understanding of English author Daphne du Maurier but more interestingly has highlighted the importance of her writing, particularly in regards to its’ impact on cinema, with the likes of full-on classics such as Don’t Look Now, Rebecca and The Birds all being based upon du Maurier’s talented scripture. Following in the footsteps of Nicolas Roeg and Alfred Hitchcock, arguably one of the most daunting double acts to take the mantle from, director Roger Michell brings to life du Maurier’s writings once more with My Cousin Rachel, a direct adaptation of the 1951 novel and a remake of the 1952 original movie which starred Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton in the two leading roles, leading roles that this time are handed to Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and Their Finest star, Sam Claflin. With the infamy and reputation of previous successes of du Maurier’s works in the background, My Cousin Rachel understandably is nowhere near the calibre of anything from Hitchcock or Roeg, but with a stand out performance from Weisz and some gorgeous costume and set design, Michell’s movie is a solid enough attempt to transpose the ambiguous and paranoid writing of du Maurier onto the big screen.
Whilst the film’s narrative effectively reeks of uncanny uncertainty, the movie is undoubtedly bolstered by the magnetic presence of Rachel Weisz in the titular leading role, giving a superbly maligned performance which edges on the side of both troubled innocent and femme fetale depending on where exactly you believe the underlying plot is being directed by the careful hand of Roger Michell. Whilst Weisz is the undeniable guiding light of the movie, the same unfortunately cannot be said for the likes of Sam Claflin as Phillip, the incredibly annoying and wholly idiotic man-child who immaturely decides to deconstruct his entire life slowly but surely over the course of the film’s two hour runtime all-the-while the audience responds not with an inch of sorrow or remorse but instead wondering how on earth such a devious tit managed to achieve such wealth to begin with. Whether it be petulantly screaming and barking orders at his much more humane serving staff or wondering whether he is at the epicentre of a epic murderous scandal, Claflin has successfully gone and created arguably the most annoying leading character of the year so far, and when put up against the strong centrality of Weisz’s character, Claflin’s Phillip ultimately is a complete fail. Whilst the film’s key mystery is arguably too anti-climactic and the plot sometimes downgrading into lulls of utter dreariness, My Cousin Rachel passed the time nicely in a way which will see it on the BBC Two afternoon schedule sometime in your near future.
Overall Score: 6/10
A Solid F
It is well versed in British culture that TV programmes that make the leap from the small screen to the big tend to lose a certain something which made its’ success on the former so appealing and noteworthy. Take The Inbetweeners for example, a series which not only was critically acclaimed during its’ three series stint, but was also remarkably original and incredibly watchable to the extent I no longer can watch them due to the severity in which I laughed at constant repeat viewings. The hotly anticipated big-screen leap of The Inbetweeners brought about much fandom screeching and hope for continued success yet the finished results ultimately failed in bringing the brilliance of the series to a wider audience whilst the appalling sequel shouldn’t even be recognised as a continuation of the now finished series.
Much like The Inbetweeners, Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education has now decided to take the jump from the small to the large screen yet remarkably like the two Inbetweeners movies, The Bad Education Movie is a disaster from start to finish, filled with racism, stereotype hugging and cringe-worthy jokes that surely will only succeed in bringing joy to that of pubescent teenagers, something of which Mr Whitehall surely thinks he still is even at the slender age of 27. You know a film is set to be unbelievably awful when the first scene features a Jew-filled Anne Frank museum being swiftly terrorised by Whitehall’s Alfie Wickers and his incredibly annoying students which not only is highly offensive to both the memory of Anne Frank, the Jewish community and the horror of the holocaust in general, but is so immature and tasteless in its’ execution, it beggars belief why such a film was ever conceived in the first place. Want my opinion? The Bad Education Movie should have stayed where it belongs; on the TV and out of my cinema.