TIFF: The Four Feathers
Middlebrow historical tripe. Good acting, with the exception of Wes Bentley, and a scattering of good scenes; but in general this is Hollywood Oscar-wannabe pap frontin’ on Merchant-Ivory and/or David Lean. I suspect the source material is pretty feeble to begin with (and dated? written in 1902), but it also feels like Kapur turned in a four hour opus and Harvey & Bob slashed it down to two. A lot more time needed to be spent explaining certain parts – not that the plot was unclear, more that the Heath Ledger character’s motivation was very unclear, to put it mildly. To put it properly, his character was an idiot. Disgraced because you don’t want to go to war? Why not go down to the battlefield and ass around like a total nitwit and do things that, by virtue of their stupidity, are waaay more dangerous than war itself? Moreover, if you want to get all revisionist, pick a better story. And steer away from the cliches of historical epicity. Kapur may have had some interesting points about colonialism, but they are buried beneath the Oscar-moment speechifying and the cursory soldierly fellowship and the tedious slow-motion emo-photography.