Thursday, September 7, 2017

Movie Review: "Tulip Fever" (2017)

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Movie"Tulip Fever"
Director: Justin Chadwick
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

During the Dutch tulip market craze, the wife of a wealthy spice trader falls in love with the painter who has been commissioned to paint her and her husband's portrait. The two hope to run off together and pray the tulip market is the answer to their problems.

Oh look, a period piece about a married woman falling in love with a painter, we've never seen that before.

"Tulip Fever" is a romantic period drama, or at least that's what we think it's supposed to be, there are times when we aren't sure, but we'll get into that later. It stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, who plays Sophia, an orphan-turned-wife of a wealthy spice trader named Cornelis Sandvoort, played by fellow Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, who purchased Sophia from an orphanage in the hopes she could give him an heir. Cornelis is at least a couple of decades her senior, so when he hires a hot young artist named Jan Van Loos, played by Dane DeHaan, to paint their portrait, it doesn't take a genius to know what will happen when you leave him alone with his hot young religiously pent up wife. "Tulip Fever" is based on the novel of the same name written by Deborah Moggach, who also helped pen the screenplay along with Tom Stoppard. It is directed by Justin Chadwick, who is best known for his films "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom."

We didn't know a whole lot about "Tulip Fever" going into it beyond the fact that it constantly got pushed back by the studio, which is never a good sign. We honestly never thought this movie would see the light of day due to its fluctuating release date. What we found out is it's mostly about sex and tulips, lots and lots of sex and tulips. It almost feels like a trashy Harlequin romance at times. Much of Sophia and Cornelis's relationship involves eating, praying, and coitus day in and day out, all while he uses soldier euphemisms to speak about his erection and his ejaculate. It's moments like this where we were left wondering if these lines are meant as instances of comedic relief. There are numerous other times that feel downright zany, and as it turns out, BigJ and I both imagined they would have been better suited with the Benny Hill theme playing over them rather than Danny Elfman's dramatic score.

As with most period dramas, the costumes and the sets are gorgeous. Lavish dresses meet with obnoxious 1600's era frills and an exorbitant amount of lace as the vibrant and expensive blue color pops amongst the boring, drab browns, greens, and whites. There are many striking visuals throughout the feature, and the sets look very well made. The acting is solid for the most part, but what the actors are working with just isn't all that great (like we said, it's pretty trashy at times). That being said, we do think Zach Galifianakis is completely miscast, and we also can't figure out why Cara Delevigne was cast at all other than to have a completely random sex scene involving two characters that play zero purpose in the overall plot. She is heavily featured in the trailer, yet she is little more than a glorified extra. Why pay her for two scenes? The biggest problems we had with "Tulip Fever" overall are the aforementioned jarring tonal problems and its pacing. It winds up dragging on and on far too long and it isn't a long movie, it just feels that way. In the end, this film is not so atrociously bad that we hate it, but it will never cross our minds ever again because it isn't memorable enough to illicit such thoughts.
My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 9%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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