Friday, December 08, 2006

THE NATIVITY STORY - banal, low-rent cash-in

Look at her. This is a lonely woman looking for companionship. A spinster... Maybe a virgin. Maybe she got hurt a long time ago. She's a schoolgirl, there was a boy, it didn't work out. So now she needs a little tenderness. She needs a little understanding. Needs a little Kramer.THE NATIVITY STORY is a painfully banal re-telling of the birth of Jesus. It has zero directorial vision; acting that consists largely of people looking earnest and pathetic; flat cinematography; fake-looking sets; a pantomime baddie; and a sub-Lord of the Rings score. There is no radical reinterpretation of the nativity story; no attempt to personalise mythic characters; no attempt to make the majority of the actors speak with anything other than patchy vaguely Meditteranean accents.

The script-writer - a man called Mark Rich - had arguably the easiest job in movie history but he blunders at every turn. Instead of exploring the psychological reality behind these amazing, gripping events, he blands them out. Archetypes become, if it were possible, more so! In desperate search of some audience interest, Rich resorts to making the three wise men a comedy act and injecting false drama. We all know there are *three* wise men but he tries to get us going with the idea that one refuses to travel. Later, he attempts to scare us with a potential miscarriage!

As the mediocre score rolled over the end credits, morphing from Medieval chanting to a latin version of Silent Night (I kid you not) I felt robbed of my hour and a half. As a Catholic, I feel insulted that Hollywood thinks it can fob off religious audiences - (give 'em any old crap and they'll come!) with this garbage. And as a cinema-lover, I finally get it: Catherine Hardwicke is a bad director. The execrable LORDS OF DOGTOWN had me suspicious but I had rather liked THIRTEEN. Well, know I'll put down the success of that film to Nikki Reed's script and her and Evan Rachel Wood's performances.

THE NATIVITY STORY is on global release and will open in all major markets by December 15th. Shameless cash-in, anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment