The Vintner's Luck review
Sat, 07 Nov 2009 1:22p.m.
Reviewed by Kate Rodger
Whale Rider director Niki Caro takes on a very different book adaptation with The Vinter’s Luck, this one based on the critically acclaimed novel by New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox.
Set in 19th century France, The Vintner’s Luck is a tale of lustful passion among the vines, among man and woman and angel, and full of the promise of a good vintage.
Central to the story is peasant winemaker Sobran (Jérémie Renier), and his search for the perfect wine. The other loves of his life are his wife, his mistress, and his angel.
Keisha Castle-Hughes leaves the innocence of Paikea behind her, as Sobran's lusty peasant wife Celeste.
With American actress Vera Farmiga, Belgian Jérémie Renier, and Frenchman Gaspard Ulliel completing the main cast, there is a very international flavour to this Niki Caro vintage.
For those who still associate Niki and Keisha with Whale Rider, be warned this is nothing like their first outing. This is a coming-of-age role for Castle-Hughes, and she approaches her change in character boldly and with confidence.
Farmiga, familiar to many for her recent roles in The Departed and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is excellent as Aurora, Sobran’s wealthy mistress and benefactor. She is his more earthly guardian angel of sorts, who supports her lover in his quest to make the perfect wine.
Sobran’s other angel is Xas (Gaspard Ulliel). Xas is a real angel who appears to Sobran once a year through his life, drawn to his friend’s human frailty and bearing dark secrets of his own. Man and angel fall in love, a relationship fraught from the outset.
There is nothing mainstream about this story, which in itself is certainly no fault. But it does make it hard to gauge where the film will find an audience, and it has certainly divided both audiences and critics alike since its premiere.
For me, The Vintner’s Luck was a gorgeous collection of imagery, sound and movement, with moments of intoxicating beauty. But the very challenging narrative failed to ignite on the big screen. It was an ambitious project to adapt this tale, and while it’s in no way a failure, it’s certainly not a triumph.
The Vintner’s Luck
:: Director: Niki Caro
:: Starring: Jérémie Renier, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vera Farmigar
:: Running Time: 127 mins
:: Rating: M - Sex Scenes
:: Release Date: November 12, 2009
:: Trailer: Click here
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13/11/2009 9:18:37 a.m.
This film was terrible. It deserved a harsher review! Come on Kate! It was wrong on many levels. The acting was average. Screenplay was confusing. The angel scenes were bizzare and ametuer looking. I hated the shaky/delayed camera. And the chemistry was strange between the main characters. Sex scenes we unnecessary. Castle-Hughes was dissapointing... She didn't age or give a sense she was older, let alone any depth to her character. I have not cringed in a movie like last night for many years.
12/11/2009 3:06:40 p.m.
Does this reviewer ever say what she really thinks? Vintners Luck is a very bad film, and Kate Roger is aware of that. Stop trying to be the Judy Bailly of film reviewers and put the boot in when its deserved.
12/11/2009 10:22:49 a.m.
Kate, for once I'd like to see you actually critically assess something. This reads like the kind of glowingly-positive review I'd expect to see in something like Woman's Day or New Idea. This is a bad film, in more ways than one, and the best you can come up with is "while it’s in no way a failure, it’s certainly not a triumph"? Please.
7/11/2009 2:56:23 p.m.
Delia Barnett wrote:
More Vinegar than Wine? Bad Reviews continue to 'haunt' The Vintner's Luck! One of the most ridiculously bad films we have ever seen. The overseas critics are right on with this one. How could millions of taxpayer's money be wasted on such frivolous, stupid rubbish as this...And as you so rightly said, who is going to pay to sit through this?
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