Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SILK - lavish but strangely uninvolving

SILK is writer-director Francois Girard's adaptation of Alessandro Baricco's best-selling novel. Set in 1860s France and Japan in the 1860s, it focuses on a young couple Herve and Helene Joncour (Michael Pitt and Keira Knightley). Herve is hired by Baldabiou (the wonderful Alfred Molina) to travel to an isolated village in Japan to buy silk-worm eggs. The mission is a success but Herve's marriage is lost. He becomes obsessed with a Japanese woman, and even when he returns to France, is transfixed by her love letters to him, begging him to return.. Nothing much actually happens but everyone looks miserable.

Michael Pitt does his typical moody, longing schtick and Keira Knightley follows suit with a series of emotionally pregnant glances that prefigure her (far better) performance in THE DUCHESS. The denouement tries to inject some drama but, given the simpering that preceeded it, it struck me as quite out of character.

On the plus side, SILK does look beautiful.

SILK played Toronto 2007 and was released in the US, Canada, Italy, the UK, Hong Long, Singapore and Greece that year. It opened earlier this year in Taiwan, Japan, Israel, Thailand, Mexico, Kuwait, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands and Argentina. It opens this week in Belgium and is also available on DVD.

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