Winter’s Tale (2014) Directed by Akiva Goldsman. Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly. IMDB says: “A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.”
I think we can all agree that I’m not the audience for this film. I wasn’t dragged to see it by my wife/girlfriend/significant other, and last time I checked, I’m not a middle-aged housewife who’s had a few kids. That being said, I kept my expectations low because I’m trying to be a better person and find the good in film, no matter what it is… but it is so hard to do that with this movie. I tried. Really, I tried. But the second I saw a flying horse, I was done. Yeah, I said it, a flying horse. From the trailers, you wouldn’t think there are elements of fantasy like guardian angels, demons, talk of constellations, Lucifer (you would NEVER guess who plays him), and flying horses. You wouldn’t think of those things, but they are all present and accounted for, ten fold.
I’m not even going to try and synopsize the plot. It’s pointless. There is too much going on in this awful mess of a movie and if I try and put it on paper, my eyes might start bleeding. Just know that the synopsis found on IMDB might cover the first 45 minutes of the film. It’s that kind of film where when you think and hope and pray it’s over, they add a whole other story to the film that lacks even more emotion and depth than the first half. As far as the acting is concerned, Colin Farrell plays a burglar with a “special gift” named Peter Lake. He’s alright. Typical Colin Farrell but with a bizarre haircut. Russell Crowe plays the demon warden of New York City named Pearly Soames. I wish I was kidding when I say that. He’s a demon that often has visions of things and he’s got the worst accent I’ve ever heard. It’s somewhere between Irish and nonsensical. Seriously, did Russell Crowe lose a bet to Akiva Goldsman or something? Did Crowe doubt that Goldsman would win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Beautiful Mind and his punishment was this role? There are some other BIG surprises in this film, but I don’t want to spoil it because it adds a whole other level of “What the hell am I watching?” to this film. (If you’re truly interested, you can listen in to episode 180 of the French Toast Sunday Podcast where I give a semi-incoherent review of this film with spoilers abound!)
The story is a mess, the score by Hans Zimmer feels uninspired, it’s two hours too long, and the whole movie looks like it was filmed on a green screen soundstage. The costumes and make-up really sell you on the early 1900s feel, but it’s all for naught when nothing else feels tangible. Don’t see this movie in theatres. I’m gonna go so far as to say don’t even rent this movie, unless you plan on getting drunk, watching it with a group of friends, and just rip it to shreds.